Wednesday, October 29, 2008

so i got to give a talk in the emc 19th ward on sunday. i have had a number of thought lately and it was fun to gather them together. i didn't share things the way they were formed in my mind, but oh well. i was sharing some of my gathered thinkings with a friend and she asked that i email the thoughts. HA! if you know me, you know that when i gather thoughts, they are in an outline form, so i hurried and typed things up.

here's where a few of my thinkings have been the last two weeks:

Characteristics of Conversion

I have thought lots about the “issues” with singles. It seems to come to 2 points: not converted deep enough to endure the hard things, or the speed bumps in life; and not getting and staying married. But then I wondered if these aren’t the issues with ALL members, and they are just highlighted with the large numbers of singles.

With that, I started studying Conversion again. The TG and BD refer to the story of Ruth. So I went there and reread the few chapters. Who knows all the meaning in chapter 3 and 4 when Ruth lies and Boaz’s feet in order for them to get married – I’ll have to study more. BUT I came away in awe that Boaz recognized Ruth’s characteristics of personal conversion. Ruth’s first husband, Naomi’s son, died just after 10 years of marriage. Ruth was converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the time. So converted that when Naomi told her to go home to her family, Ruth chose not to. I am sure that Ruth was aware of the life that Naomi would have as a older widowed woman. She would have no income, it would be hard to make ends meet, etc. I can image Ruth knowing this and choosing to take care of Naomi because of her depth of conversion. Robert J. Whetten, in “Strengthen Thy Brethren”, Liahona, May 2005, 91-93 said, “Isn’t the measure of the level of your conversion how you treat others? . . . Your continued spiritual growth and eternal progress are very much wrapped up in your relationships – in how you treat others.”

Ruth went and worked in the fields, gathering the left over barley grains from the early morning all day long. Boaz saw her and thought she was beautiful. Working in the fields that long, I can only image what she physically looked like. I know what I look like when I am out working in the yard – haven’t showered, no makeup, not cute hair, clothes than are grubby. I am guessing Ruth looked just about the same – no expensive make up, not clothes that flattered her figure, no yummy smelling hair products, no cute shoes. Boaz must have seen something through all that that was truly beautiful. I am sure that when he was a deacon or teacher or elder thinking about the girl they would marry, Boaz wasn’t thinking that she would be the poor girl gathering the left-over grains from his field. Ruth’s purity, her sanctification (BD: Conversion) had made her beautiful. Maybe all the prophets and leaders were right when they talk about beauty being a purity. The magic was that Boaz – my new boyfriend of life! – had developed an ability to recognize characteristics of personal conversion. He saw who Ruth was (not saying that she let herself go and just was going to be who she was the guy would have to see through LOTS of things to her “sweet spirit”) and knew exactly what he needed in order to form the eternal righteous family he was to create.

love that Boaz notices Ruth - even amidst the craziness around him, he saw her!

this picture is SOO not accurate! no way did Ruth look so good!

And that is huge! Ruth and Boaz were the great, great, great, grandparents of the Savior. Their depth of conversion was passed through their children and their children’s children. It was deep enough to last countless generations and be able to mold and guide the man and woman who would raise the Son of God.

It blows my mind to ponder what things the Lord could do with us – His people – if we truly CHOSE to develop characteristics of conversion and then truly and decidedly saw these characteristics in the people around us. If we were honestly seeking for those who have decided and proved their conversion and married them – WOW!!! Boaz knew he needed to form an eternal righteous family, and he sought out a woman, recognized her behaviors as proof of her conversion and formed that eternal family.

SOO many other examples in Issac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel. Wow!!


Susie said...

Wow. This was an awesome post! You have a wisdom beyond your years...
I always found it flattering when elders from my mission would ask me out because they had seen me at my absolute worst in terms of appearance. What they did know was the quality of my service as a missionary and I was glad that it was criteria enough to want to get to know me better.
Truly, married or single, it is the level of our conversion that makes all the difference.
Great thoughts, Em!

Word Diva said...

Em, I miss you. Thanks for the Boaz and Ruth comments. I have been feeling a little too 'sweet spiritish' lately. But then isn't that the point of Ruth's story. She didn't mope, she did what was right and in losing herself in doing what was truly expedient the Lord was able to create a moment of truth--a some enchanted evening of the bible--where Boaz sees Ruth's conversion and spirit in her actions--not just her face--and that is when two dynamic people were able to create a dynasty of righteous men and women for the Lord to use as instruments.

Application? Find what we are meant to do, in the process or in doing it be who we are and be converted and Boaz or not, we can be sure that the Lord is aware and will find a way to make hidden things come to light.

I miss institute.