As recorded in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul taught that each member of the body of Christ is important, even necessary, to the proper functioning of the Church, which is made up of families, which are in turn comprised of individuals. Christ loves us individually, and his sacrifice pertains to us at that level. But he meets us not only as a son or daughter of God but as families and communities, striving together to follow his teachings and utilize the talents he has given us.
Paul encouraged us to develop and exercise spiritual gifts, as the Spirit grants them to us. We can’t always tell what gifts we should seek, but as we pray, study, serve, and exercise faith in persistent action, our path is revealed and our minds open up to the incredible possibilities of our active participation in the Lord’s kingdom brings. We help each other—leading, following, and persuading in the Savior’s way.
If, on the other hand, we discover a gift, or a talent, and seek to hide it away—to “keep it safe”—we have become salt that has lost its savor, and are unprofitable servants. (see Matthew 5:13 and Matthew 25:24-30) God understands if you are naturally introverted, but if you trust him, he can help you employ your talents in amazingly effective and appropriate ways.
Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?
We don’t tell little children everything. God doesn’t tell us everything. But he doesn’t lie to us, either. A popular mantra for “getting good things done” is BAMN—By Any Means Necessary. Legions of so-called “leaders” (in the corporate world, with which I’m familiar, and elsewhere) crow this slogan with great, blustering pride. They’re our saviors, and they’re here to make sure we’re saved, whether we understand/accept it or not. But BAMN is not an eternal principle of love and progress, and never will be.
To the Twelve, the Lord said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) They (and he, of course) were well aware of how brutally dishonest and forgiving the world could be (see Ephesians 6:12), but the Lord asked them to be bold, intelligent, and aware, not scheming, conniving, and dissembling. The Lord’s mission revolves around Truth, and any dishonest efforts to do his work will undoubtedly fail because they are inimical to his purpose.
This is why the Lord warned Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1828-29 with these words: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, wo be unto him that lieth to deceive because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the justice of God.” (D&C 10:28) Not only do we not need to lie to protect ourselves from the lies of others, we’re under condemnation if we exhibit the same behavior.
When Jesus first saw Nathanael (Bartholomew), he said, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” (John 1:47) Jesus was looking for honest, dedicated people to lead his flock, and he does the same thing today. He doesn’t need to lie, cheat, or steal to accomplish his work, and neither do his true servants.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope it was worthwhile. For additional insights on these topics, feel free to visit me at https://www.mdhouselive.com/ or check out my historical fiction books on the life of Barabbas (three volumes) and the servant of Helaman.