Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fruit and Fashion

In the early chapters of the Book of Mormon both Lehi and Nephi are blessed with a marvelous vision of the tree of life. This tree of life, which represents the love of God, is described as exceeding all beauty and bearing fruit that was desirable above all other fruit. Running by the tree is a river of water, and on the other side of the river is a great and spacious building (See 1 Nephi 8, 11-14).

It is primarily on the inhabitants of the building that I would like to focus. One thing to note about them is that “their manner of dress [is] exceedingly fine”, and another is that it seems that their only activity consists of “mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit” (1 Nephi 8:27).

Those people could certainly see the tree, and noted its exceeding beauty. I wonder if their exceedingly fine manner of dress was not an attempt to imitate that beauty. I believe that happens far too much in the world today. Making things look nice on the outside is no doubt easier than fighting their way across the river and through the mist of darkness while clinging to an unfashionable iron rod (all of which require some serious faith and repentance), but in the end the nice clothes will not make one happy, as will the fruit of the tree.

Now that the excitement of the new clothes has faded the inhabitants have to find something else to do. For all its greatness and spaciousness there does not seem to be a lot of diversions in the building, so the people turn to mocking those partaking of the fruit from the tree. From this we can learn some things. The diversions the world has to offer will not satisfy for long and sometimes the mocking and pride of the world is nothing more than jealousy at what those partaking of the fruit have. It is like the kid who did not study and fails the test calling the kid who worked hard and did well a nerd. Of course the taunt is nothing more than jealousy.

Based on this I would hope for two things for all of us. First, that we, like the Lord, would not worry too much about outward perfection, but would worry about perfecting our hearts (See 1 Samuel 16:7). Second, that we would not heed the mocking attitudes that we encounter from the world in general and sometimes from those much closer too us, but would rather let them know that there is no need to be jealous for there is no shortage of fruit and the tree is open to all.

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