I took the opportunity to read the Third Nephi version of the Sermon on the Mount this morning and came upon something that intrigued me. As the Lord was giving these words to the multitude of the Nephites, He paused, as described in chapter 13, verse 25:

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken.  For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people.  Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Unlike what is found in the New Testament which suggests He spoke these words to the multitude, the Lord directs His words to the twelve and, I assume, lets that multitude listen in. After speaking to the twelve, we read in the first verse of chapter 14, that the Savior once again turns to the multitude to continue speaking.

As I pondered the words found here, I came to understand that this section of the Sermon on the Mount was directed specifically to those that that Lord had called to serve.

AND it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto Nephi, and to those who had been called, (now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am. (3 Nephi 12:1)

As noted here,  the Lord had called twelve to be ministers and servants unto those who would accept His words. They were given specific  ‘power’ to baptize candidates with water. After the first baptism with water, the Lord would baptize ‘with fire and with the Holy Ghost.’ This is a subject that I have earnestly attempted to understand in previous posts.

What I want to address in this post is the segment of the Sermon on the Mount that the Lord directed to those who He had called to serve His flock. What did the Lord expect from these twelve that were called from among the Nephites? And through association what would the Lord expect from those that are called to fill a similar position in today’s church of Jesus Christ?

As I read verses 25 through 34 of chapter 13, I understand that the Savior had called on these men to leave behind the normal cares and bothers of life. They were to take no thought about food, clothing, shelter, or any other ‘material’ vestment. They were told that the Lord knows that they will need these things but they are to ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (verse 33)

If I were to stop there, I could understand these words to say that when a minister or servant of the Lord puts the kingdom of God first, he will then receive what he needs from a physical perspective; food, clothing, housing, etc. But how much should these leaders expend in acquiring these material possessions as they pursue the kingdom of God?

In the next verse, the Lord closes his words directed to the twelve with this:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof. (verse 34)

As I see it, these men were told to ‘take no thought’ as to what they were to eat, or drink, or where their clothing was to come from. They were told to take no thought for what may happen tomorrow. They were to make no plans for what they may need in the future, beginning with tomorrow. They were only to follow the Spirit and the Lord would take care of their needs.

As I pondered this, I had to first ask myself if I would be willing to give up my material possessions, my home, my refrigerator, my freezer, my cupboards stuffed with the things that I will need tomorrow. Do I have the spiritual fortitude to give these things up in pursuit of the kingdom of God? Wow, I would struggle to gain even a small portion of the faith I would need to meet these words. I am too comfortable, I am too aligned with Mammon, I am too materially focused to yield to this command of the Savior. I must assess what I am willing to give up to pursue the kingdom of God…

And what of those who are called to serve as the twelve (or fifteen) today? Are they to be placed under the same direction as those twelve selected from among the Nephites? I wonder if today’s equivalent is an unlimited church credit card? Is the Lord providing a million dollar penthouse for the longest living apostle?

I cannot judge (which conveniently is the next topic that the Savior treats in the Sermon on the Mount). I can only address what I believe is the scope of the Lord’s direction to me. But as I view the scope of the Sermon on the Mount, it is filled with guidance on how we are to treat one another, how we are to honor our Father, how we are not to allow the things of this world get in the road of our eternal path.

As I look at the chapters in Third Nephi, I can now draw the distinction between the Lord’s council to the multitude to ‘do alms unto the poor’ (assuming we have material that can benefit them)  and the direction given to the twelve to not worry about their own sustenance as the Lord will provide for them. We are to give to the poor in secret; we are to serve others without expectation of recognition (no bright t-shirts?). We are to turn the other cheek, we are to give more than is asked. We are to forgive all trespasses. Wow… do I have a long way to go.

I have come away with a much deeper appreciation for what the Lord is asking of us in the Sermon on the Mount. I can only hope that He has patience as I make a feeble attempt to be part of His flock.

12 Responses to “No Thought For Tomorrow”

  • Log:

    There is a reason Alma specifically mentioned meeting the needs of the priests when directing his people (Mosiah 18:28). Since the priests, to be priests, must be following the principle of God, they are very likely to be homeless bums. As were the Lord and his disciples during their mortal ministry.

    The fundamental question at issue, I suppose, is this – is the core doctrine of Babylon, which is economic scarcity, also known as limited resources, also known as TANSTAAFL, true? Do we have the faith in God to act as though it weren’t true?

  • Spektator:

    Yes we are so entrenched in Babylon, that it would be next to impossible to really operate in Zion mode. And the welfare system seems to try to do the right thing but for. perhaps the wrong reason. It would take an extreme amount of faith to get out from underneath the umbrella.

    If the Book of Mormon was written for our time, should we not assume that the guidance is appropriate for this day and age? Should we not expect those who are called in seeking the kingdom of Zion extract themselves from the expectations imposed on us by that culture; the goals being a big house, a new car, and all the other entanglements?

    As far as homeless bums, as I read your comment I was reminded of Isaiah, in chapter 20, walking barefoot and naked for three years as a sign to the Egyptians. It could be worse than just being bums, the prophet could be a naked, barefoot, homeless bun…

    • Log:

      … eating food cooked over fire fueled by human shit, as Ezekiel was told to do (Ezekiel 4:12)…

      • Spektator:

        Dung, the proper term is dung. Excrement, as in the case of the more explicit term you used has to be carefully prepared before it can used as dung. ;>}

  • sfort:

    Spek,

    You have brought up some glaring issues of what we came here to do and what one thinks they should do by reading a few scriptures. Context is everything. If the Lord appeared to you and spoke of heavenly commands, you would do them; I have no doubt.

    Now what was the purpose in taking no thought at the time of the Jews? There were haves and have nots; they never even heard of Adam Smith, whom if followed would allow the average man to prosper in Babylon. Babylon has always been here. We are to grow into Gods because of it, not to fear it. We don’t need a bunch of people taking this scripture literally and providing the “cliff” effect.

    There was a specific purpose with the Nephite disciples. They were to set the kingdom upright with many variables not particular to the people. They were to also set up the law of consecration or law of common consent among them. This is conspicuously remiss in the Book of Mormon. Why are the details of the law not had among us? Because the fulness of the everlasting gospel is contained within the walls of this law. Those who brought forth the Book of Mormon announcing it contained the fulness were in error because they left out or did not translate the law of consecration with any detail; only that they practiced it for a time.

    We live in Babylon for a reason. It will help us grow. Do not resist evil as the Lord says. It will always be here until his return. In the mean time, He has not asked us to all be poor or we cannot exist with Him. Giving up all we have is in large part a metaphor in giving up our egos, personality, and sub conscious to the higher good within us. We are to show compassion, provide charity, show temperance, meekness, humility, love unfeigned and let our conscious state be driven by our soul-self, which is eternal, pure, truth and light. We can do much good living in Babylon and until the Lord comes to you in person and gives you a directive because things are changing, I wouldn’t beat yourself up concerning it.

    Be patient and seek the spirit. There is much good to be done. Directives will come. We are within the walls of Jacob’s Trial. The trials are forthcoming. You may find yourself without very much soon enough.

  • Log:

    This is what the Lord has asked of us.

    “Blessed are the poor; for theirs is the kingdom of God… But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation.”

    So while it is true he hasn’t asked us to be poor, what he has asked us to do will result in us being poor. And we do what he has asked us if we want what he is offering us. If not, hell, why not be rich?

    Nibley had some interesting things to say on this topic, too.

    • sfort:

      Poor in heart? Poor in spirit? The interesting thing about the literalists is they don’t know when to read literally or metaphorically, or symbolically and thereby generating opinions based on what?

      • Log:

        A not-so-interesting thing about hypo-literalists, on the other hand, is that they seem unable to tell when someone is stating an opinion or not.

        This is not surprising, and not interesting, because hypo-literalists assume, from the outset, that what was said wasn’t what was meant.

        So they don’t do, and therefore don’t know. And they challenge authority because they do not wish to believe.

        To each their own.

        However, just as an experiment, sfort, why don’t you try believing what the Lord said at face value, and obeying literally, and seeing what happens?

  • sfort:

    You assume much. Therefore you know not

  • James Russell Uhl:

    This has been mentioned before, but I think bears mentioning again.
    With charity (a gift from God) and with the Holy Ghost (a blessing under the hand of God) it becomes possible to walk the strait and narrow path, living the Sermon at Bountiful, or the Golden Rule. Without those specific gifts, one may only struggle and attempt to do so to a greater or lesser degree.
    To my way of thinking, our first efforts should be to “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart” for the one and to plead with God unceasingly for the other. They may in fact be one and the same gift.
    James Russell Uhl

  • Log:

    This thought – “take ye no thought for the morrow” – has been recurring to me. Is this not the principle that was illustrated by the manna in the wilderness?

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