They May Get Baptized or They May Want to Hurt You (Helaman 16)
One of the parables of Jesus was the Parable of the Sower. (See Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8.) In this parable, the sower scatters seeds with the intention of growing fruit. The seeds are all good, but the results vary significantly, depending on where they land. The seeds that fall on good ground grow fruit as intended, but the seeds that fall in other places produce less desirable results.
Jesus explains that the seeds in the parable represent the word of God or the message of the gospel. The message is good, but the results vary for different people — some will accept it and become part of the family of God; some will seemingly accept it for a time but then slip away; others will reject it outright.
One of the key purposes of the parable is to make sure that we don't become discouraged from sharing the message. Even if most people reject it, that doesn't make the message any less valid.
In Helaman 16, Samuel the Lamanite concludes his message to the Nephites, urging them to repent of their sins and look to the Lord. Although everyone has heard the same words, the results vary wildly. On the one hand, "as many as believed on his word went forth and sought for Nephi;…confessed unto him their sins and denied not, desiring that they might be baptized unto the Lord" (verse 1).
However, many of the Nephites reject the message of Samuel. As it is, Samuel has been barred entrance to the city, so he has been delivering his message from atop the city wall. Now, a memorable scene unfolds as the unbelievers try to silence the messenger:
"As many as there were who did not believe in the words of Samuel were angry with him; and they cast stones at him upon the wall, and also many shot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall; but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows." (Helaman 16:2)
As followers of Christ, we would surely be quick to share the gospel message with others if we knew they would accept the message, repent of their sins and be baptized. Even if they would listen politely and show interest, it would encourage us to share the message. However, our society has developed such an anger toward the things of God that it seems much more likely we will be hurt in some way — whether verbal abuse, ridicule, loss of friends, loss of job opportunities, perhaps even physical violence at times — if we would dare to say that people need to repent of their sins and look to God.
So, what do we do? Do we keep silent and hide who we are? Do we modify our beliefs to be more in line with cultural norms? Clearly, this is not desirable behavior as people of God.
Perhaps you're not the type of person to get up on a wall and preach about Christ and encourage repentance of sins — we need some people to do that, but it's not for everyone. You can still participate in sowing the seeds of the gospel and make an impression on others by being firm in living your faith. You then become a living example of what the Lord can do:
- Let others see that you believe in God — make it clear that you pray for various situations in your life and that you believe that God will answer your prayers in some way.
- Let others see the fruits of the Spirit in your life — that you're different from the average person by showing great love, patience, self-control, joy, etc.
- Let others see that your Church is important to you — by your frequency of attendance and level of support to the goals of The Church.
When others see that you're a sincere servant of God, you will have more opportunities to discuss the various aspects of your faith and even share a testimony of what the Lord has done in your life. The results will still vary — some will accept what you say and perhaps eventually be baptized, while others will reject what you say and may even seek to hurt you in some way — but the important thing is that each of us participates in sowing the seeds of the gospel in some way. Where the seeds land and whether they take root is in God's hands.
When One Chapter Closes, Another Opens
We've reached the last chapter in Helaman, and we're on to 3 Nephi next. If you missed any of the other blog posts in this series, please see below for a list of them all. Click on a title to read that article. God bless you!
|1||I Strenuously Object|
|2||A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing|
|3||It's Astonishing What the Lord Can Do|
|4||Our Own Strength|
|5||Saved by Fire|
|6||Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time|
|7||Now Is Our Time|
|8||Our Actions Illustrate Our Beliefs|
|9||Who Did It?|
|10||Power of Attorney|
|11||Is God Trying to Get My Attention?|
|13||A Righteous Man's Reward|
|15||God May Prolong Your Days — But Don't Depend on That|
|16||They May Get Baptized or They May Want to Hurt You (this post)|
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.