I will now continue with last week's subject of the power of a good attitude.
In Alma 17: 28-33 we learn a great lesson about the power of a positive attitude. Ammon had recently gone out with the other Lamanites as a servant tending the flocks of King Lamoni and then the robbers came and dispersed the flocks. First look at the bad example of the negative Lamanites and learn what missionaries never should do. Then watch the wonderful leadership and the powerful influence that Ammon's positive attitude on the rest of the group and see what a difference a positive attitude of one missionary can have on the rest of the district, zone, or mission. I've seen this happen!
28 Now the servants of the king began to murmur, saying: Now the king will slay us, as he has our brethren because their flocks were scattered by the wickedness of these men. And they began to weep exceedingly, saying: Behold, our flocks are scattered already.
29 Now they wept because of the fear of being slain.
Little pause here. I'm sure many have heard missionaries and other people whine just like this when something goes wrong or a problem presents itself, ¨Oh no poor me¨ ¨That's not fair. Why me?¨ ¨It's hopeless becuase now ... will happen and there's nothing we can do¨ blah blah wah wah ¨This sector is dead¨ ¨I'm bored¨ ¨The members don't help here¨ ¨Its my companion's fault¨ these negative thoughts and the nagative attitude are sure to bring negative results. Instead of ACTING and solving the problem, these Lamanites just complain and worry.
Now lets see what Ammon does and learn from his great leadership..
(29)Now when Ammon saw this his heart was swollen within him with joy; for, said he, I will show forth my power unto these my fellow-servants, or the power which is in me, in restoring these flocks unto the king, that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants, that I may lead them to believe in my words. 30 And now, these were the thoughts (positive thoughts thus positive results) of Ammon, when he saw the afflictions of those whom he termed to be his brethren.
31 And it came to pass that he flattered them by his words, saying: My brethren, be of good cheer and let us go in search of the flocks, and we will gather them together and bring them back unto the place of water; and thus we will preserve the flocks unto the king and he will not slay us.
He decides to act and inspires them to act as well and solve their problem. This positive attitude and rallying call of Ammon gives the Lamanites hope and cases them to stop complaining and follow Ammon in getting to work.
32 And it came to pass that they went in search of the flocks, and they did follow Ammon, and they rushed forth with much swiftness and did head the flocks of the king, and did gather them together again to the place of water.
Wow! Those Lamanites went from whining, crying, and complaining to rushing forth with much swiftness and getting to work. That is the power of a strong leader with a good attitude. Think about it. Ammon could've whined and complained too and made excuses.. ¨Oh poor me its just my luck that while I'm trying to gain the King's confidence by serving him that these annoying robbers have to come over here and ruin everything. I'll bet Aaron and my other brothers are having more luck in their area... its not fair that now this happened so I won't be able to baptize anyone... this area stinks... my companions don't help me out... blah blah blah¨ There are lots of missionaries and zone leaders that I've seen with this kind of attitude and thus become victims of the circumstances. But Ammon didn't do that, he thought positively and thus became a creator of his circumstances, brought forth miracles, converted thousands of Lamanites, and was a powerful instrument in building the Lord's Kingdom. Let's decide to be like Ammon and be positive and lead others to work and be positive. Something interesting is that being positive and working hard are the best of friends and build off of each other. The more positive your attitude, the more you will work, the more that you work, you'll feel even better and have an even more positive attitude, and then you'll feel like working even more and then feel even better with a better attitude and want to work even more...etc.
Another great example of someone who had a positive attitude even in difficult situations is Nephi. As they were traveling in the wilderness they suffered many trials and their wives had to give birth while traveling but Npehi saw the blessings of the Lord and was positive and grateful.
2 And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.
3 And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.
He had a good attitude and thus produced good results. Laman and Lemuel were in the exact same situation but had an attitude completely different...
20 And thou art like unto our father, led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.
They had a bad attitude and thus produced bad results. Life truly is what you make of it and the success or failure, happiness or misery that we have depends upon our attitude. Whether we be in the wilderness, in our homes, in the mission, in the service of the King after having our flocks robbed, in an area with a tough companion, or in any type of situation... let us be positive and have a good attitude and I promise that we will see the blessings and good results that come.
For the Christmas season, this last week my companion and I had the privilege of attending the temple three times with the various zones of the mission. I love to be in the temple. I love the peace that is felt and I love the personal revelation that one can receive while in the celestial room. It truly is like heaven on earth. After each visit to the temple we had a devotional with the zones and they each gave a little presentation. It was very fun. I really enjoy being with all the missionaries and getting to know them all better.
Elder Magill and I had discontinued the practice of calling and singing to people on their birthdays but then we realized how much it really meant to the missionaries because quite a few shared with us how special and important they felt when we called... so we put it back in practice a few weeks ago and its been great. It truly is something so simple but makes such a big difference. Its a great idea for teachers, coaches, grandparents, or church leaders.
An interesting subject came to my mind the other day and I feel the need to share my thoughts. It is about not being offended easily when people give us advice. The natural instinct is to get our feelings hurt or get mad or try to defend ourselves when someone tries to correct us. As parents, companions, and true friends it is our duty to help others by giving them advice and corrections with a spirit of love and humility. Likewise we need to be able to receive correction and feedback with grace, gratitude, and humility regardless of the way in which the correction is given. The scriptures are full of examples and evidences that it is important to correct others that we love and apply correction and counsel from those we love (Psalms 94:12, Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 15:10).
The purpose of this life is to have joy and prepare ourselves to live with God. All of us are imperfect and all of us have a lot to improve on in order to get to that point of being worthy to live with God in the Celestial Kingdom. We must change and progress little by little everyday to become better and better and more celestial worthy. Thus we should be GRATEFUL for corrections and suggestions from others and see them as opportunities to improve and grow like we're supposed to. When we get our feelings hurt or get offended we are only shooting ourselves in the foot and stunting our own growth.
Merry Christmas everyone! I recommend watching the video ¨The Christmas Spirit.¨ It's very simple but very sweet. Remember to keep Christ in Christmas and you'll feel peace and joy.