Sunday, September 14, 2008

Things God Doesn't Care About

With all that talk about with how intimately involved God is in our lives, it is increasingly striking to me all of the things that God doesn't care about. They are myriad. We even had a family home evening about it and ran out of space for everything on our cardstock.

As Cecil O. said "some things such as meekness, humility duty, solid scholarship [this is a talk to BYU], and responsiveness to duly constituted priesthood authority are vitally important not only to self but to the kingdom. Other things like golf, bicycles, how specifically one earns a living, what one's major is, or what color blouse or tie to wear are of significant personal interest but of no permanent or transcendent value in the greater scheme of life" ("The Importance of Meekness in the Disciple-Scholar"). Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

Some of my favorite inspirational moments have been when God says, "M. it doesn't matter. At all. Sheesh." (Some people have the still, small voice. I have the still, small, sometimes-sarcastic voice.) I got a sweet one of those this weekend decided who would be in Divine Comedy. It's our most important decision, we have precious little to go on for it and it can have effects for years. But once you find a gaggle of nice, smart, friendly, funny, hard-working people, you can kind of just throw a dart.

I'm not saying that sometimes God does care, and strongly, who we choose for the troupe or what we major in or what graduate school we attend or maybe even, on some rare occasions, what color shirt we wear. But these times are few and far between and if you're living in a pattern of prayerfulness and attention to the workings of the Spirit, you'll be told if there's anything particularly pressing about the details. We should be asked to be guided day-by-day, but we don't always need to agonize if it seems like we're not getting a clear answer for a smaller question. Or even a big question. God can't guide your feet if you don't start walking.

And why doesn't God care about all these things? In part, because we're in training for God-hood and, as Brigham Young once said, he wants to see if we'll be faithful in the dark, see if we can do it without being led by the hand and never make any decisions for ourselves. For some people, this is the Christian ideal, but bear in mind that our theology insists that being told precisely what to do all the time was the Deceiver's plan from the beginning. Part of it is so that we can learn to strip away our pride in these little things, football games and prom dates, baked alaska and straight A's and realize that the things God cares about are the things we ought to care about too. And those things are simple and sweet.


Makayla said...

Thanks Mary. Your thoughts are clear and calming. And true.

Dave and Margaret said...

Good points Mary.

My favorite quote refuting this idea that God will help us decide what shirt to wear and which toothpaste to buy is from Elder Oaks: "We believe in continuing revelation, not continuous revelation."

Jamie said...

C'mon, Mary. God cares about the little things too. Like me spilling our roommate's coffee all over the floor. Or like me burning the pasta which caused Andrew to burn his hand. Or like me burning the rice which caused me to swear which caused me to go out and drink a brewsky which caused me to make a pact with the devil. If the devil cares about the soft slope down to the inferno (that means furnace in Italian) where the big-eared red-eyed devil eats naked people, then surely God must care about the small things that lead us to heaven, right? Even if it's wearing nice shoes which would attract a nice fresh returned missionary which would cause him to ask you out on a date which would eventually lead to an eternal marriage which would eventually lead to godhood? Are you saying, "Despite small and simple things, great things are brought to pass"? Am I twisting your words enough?

I really just wanted to comment on your great blog. Perhaps it's really a plea for help when I cook.

mlh said...

Here's the thing though, James: those small and simple things of that verse are commandments, which matter, whereas most things...don't. You might not have married your husband, but you would have married someone else and eternal marriage and godhood and all that.

Harsh said...

Since selling my soul, I've also been required from time to time to make PR stops for the dark lord (nee Lucifer). This is the official position of the Underworld (tm) on this issue:
"We'd like everyone to remember that the end always justifies the means. And remember that anger gives you focus, makes you strong..."

Anonymous said...

Hi!I'm Taiwanese.And i hope i can go to BYU-h but my English is realy bad!! So.I find your Blog in Internet use BYU word to serch.Your testimony touch my heart!Although I have long been aware of these principles.But you are realy good member of this church!Thanks.

Jamie said...

I really think you're right, Mary. I think a great metaphor for this topic is a parent happy to see his kindergardener's crayoned picture, even if the child has colored outside the lines. It's not "perfect," but it just doesn't matter and both parent and child are happy regardless.

And Harsh, you are NOT an agent of the devil! You're too chipper!