Monday, February 23, 2015

Neal A. Maxwell on the road to consecration

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) served as a Seventy from 1976-1981, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until his death from cancer in 2004.
"Each of us might well ask, 'In what ways am I shrinking or holding back?' Meek introspection may yield some bold insights! For example, we can tell much by what we have already willingly discarded along the pathway of discipleship. It is the only pathway where littering is permissible, even encouraged. In the early stages, the debris left behind includes the grosser sins of commission. Later debris differs; things begin to be discarded which have caused the misuse or underuse of our time and talent.
"Along this pathway leading to consecration, stern and unsought challenges sometimes hasten this jettisoning, which is needed to achieve increased consecration (see Hel. 12:3). If we have grown soft, hard times may be necessary. If we are too contented, a dose of divine discontent may come. A relevant insight may be contained in reproof. A new calling beckons us away from comfortable routines wherein the needed competencies have already been developed. One may be stripped of accustomed luxury so that the malignant mole of materialism may be removed. One may be scorched by humiliation so pride can be melted away. Whatever we lack will get attention, one way or another....
"Consecration is thus both a principle and a process, and it is not tied to a single moment. Instead, it is freely given, drop by drop, until the cup of consecration brims and finally runs over."
- Neal A. Maxwell, "Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father," Ensign, Nov. 1995, pp. 22-24
Click here to read the full talk

One of Elder Maxwell's favorite topics was discipleship; he gave some wonderful counsel about what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. In this excerpt, he notes that sometimes what we perceive to be challenges and frustrations in life may be the things needed to lead us to deeper discipleship. Our "meek introspection" can bring "bold insights" into our personal situation.

But I especially love the analogy about the process of becoming a true disciple — following the path, "jettisoning" the parts of our life that don't belong as we move ahead. In Moroni's memorable language, it means that we "deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness" (Moroni 10:32), gradually and steadily removing those things from our lives and discarding them, like litter along the pathway.

It's interesting to ponder the progression of that process that Elder Maxwell mentions, starting with "the grosser sins of commission" but then, as we mature spiritually, moving forward to eliminate things like "the misuse or underuse of our time and talent." And that's where the "meek introspection" should help me find what is the next thing that needs to be left behind in my life.

Thank you, Elder Maxwell, for always stretching us by your deep thoughts and beautiful expressions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15