Friday, June 8, 2018

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on keeping perspective in the ironies and hardships of life

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.
"In coping with irony, as in all things, we have an Exemplary Teacher in Jesus. Dramatic irony assaulted Jesus’ divinity almost constantly.
"For Jesus, in fact, irony began at His birth. Truly, He suffered the will of the Father 'in all things from the beginning.' (3 Ne. 11:11.) This whole earth became Jesus’ footstool (see Acts 7:49), but at Bethlehem there was 'no room... in the inn' (Luke 2:7) and 'no crib for his bed' (Hymns, 1985, no. 206.)
"At the end, meek and lowly Jesus partook of the most bitter cup without becoming the least bitter. (See 3 Ne. 11:11; D&C 19:18–19.) The Most Innocent suffered the most. Yet the King of Kings did not break, even when some of His subjects did unto Him 'as they listed.' (D&C 49:6.) Christ’s capacity to endure such irony was truly remarkable.
"You and I are so much more brittle. For instance, we forget that, by their very nature, tests are unfair.
"In heaven, Christ’s lofty name was determined to be the only name on earth offering salvation to all mankind. (See Acts 4:12; 2 Ne. 25:20; see also Abr. 3:27.) Yet the Mortal Messiah willingly lived so modestly, even, wrote Paul, as a person 'of no reputation.' (Philip. 2:7.)
"What a contrast to our maneuverings over relative recognition and comparative status. How different, too, from the ways in which some among us mistakenly see the size and response of their audiences as the sole verification of their worth. Yet those fickle galleries we sometimes play to have a way of being constantly emptied. They will surely be empty at the Judgment Day, when everyone will be somewhere else, on their knees."
- Neal A. Maxwell, "Irony: The Crust on the Bread of Adversity," General Conference April 1989
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

In this typically fascinating discourse, Elder Maxwell discusses the "irony" that often fills our lives. We obey but don't always see immediate blessings; we live righteously but still suffer difficulties, disappointments, and trials. It's part of the challenge of living in the school of mortality. But we can profit much by observing the example of the Savior in his mortal experience. Truly, "The Most Innocent suffered the most" of any who experience this realm.

We forget what really matters when we become so concerned about status and recognition in our lives. We think our worth is defined by the size of our audience. Elder Maxwell refutes this notion and challenges us to remember what really matters in the eyes of God.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

No comments:

Post a Comment

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