Your mind gets a little quirky when you’re the only one awake in the middle of the night. You need something to distract you, but not something so serious that it wakes you up even more. You need Mormon Insomniac.
When someone is prompted to befriend someone or do a kind deed, do you ever wonder how many people the Lord asked before them? People who ignored Him, or put Him off, or just said no? We know that people ignore promptings, because the prophets keep reminding us not to do it. What we don’t always know is, after someone ignores a prompting, what does the Lord do next?
There’s still someone in need. Maybe there’s only one or two people positioned to fill that need, so if those folks ignore the prompting, then both the Lord and the person in need are out of luck. On one hand, that’s so sad to think of the Lord going around begging people to help him, and they all brush him off. It’s sad to think of the person who feels alone and uncared for having to go without.
In an ironic way, it is a little bit comforting to think about times you prayed for help or comfort without receiving it. Maybe the Lord was fighting for you during that time. Sure, maybe you needed to learn to struggle alone, but maybe He was fighting for you, and just couldn’t get people to move on it fast enough.
But, back to you or me being the one who is receiving the prompting to serve. What if you or I are the 7th person the Lord tried to get to do this act of service? Or maybe you or I are the 4rd person the Bishop has attempted to call to serve in the Primary. Most folks have times when they’re in a good humble place in their lives, and they would be happy to do what the Lord asks, whether they’re the Lord’s 1st choice or his last.
Of course, it’s normal to feel a little bit of a pride reaction at the thought of being picked last. Good thing we don’t usually have any way of knowing, huh. Still, for times when we feel that way, or feel like we’re always playing second fiddle, it’s good to remember that those players who go first round in the draft aren’t always the ones at the Superbowl or in the Playoffs a few years down the road. Maybe the Lord is the wise coach giving you or I, an unknown rookie, a real shot at playing in His starting line-up.
The more we respond when the Spirit prompts us, the more the Lord will use us, and the more we can help our teammates win the day. It’s a quiet victory, but it’s full of peace and joy.
It’s something to think about the next time we have a prompting or receive a calling at Church that we know other people have said “no” to. We can be the ones who really come through for the Lord when everyone else is letting him down. Sure, we might be rookies he doesn’t play until everyone else is dropping the ball or injured, but if we come through for Him in a tight spot, He will definitely put us in sooner next time!
Not everyone likes a sports example applied to spiritual matters; perhaps the element of competition in sports tarnishes the metaphor—there’s a lot more emphasis on competition and winning in sports than there is in the service of the Lord. Elder Ronald A. Rasband used the metaphor of first responders to make the same point:
First promptings are pure inspiration from heaven. When they confirm or testify to us, we need to recognize them for what they are and never let them slip past. So often, it is the Spirit inspiring us to reach out to someone in need, family and friends in particular. …
Think of it as being what is called a first responder. In most communities the first responders to a tragedy, disaster, or calamity are firefighters, police officers, paramedics. They arrive with lights flashing, and may I add, we are so incredibly grateful for them. The Lord’s way is less obvious but requires just as immediate a response. The Lord knows the needs of all His children—and He knows who is prepared to help. If we let the Lord know in our morning prayers that we are ready, He will call on us to respond. If we respond, He will call on us time and time again and we will find ourselves on what President Monson calls “the Lord’s errand.” We will become spiritual first responders bringing help from on high.
If we pay attention to the promptings that come to us, we will grow in the spirit of revelation and receive more and more Spirit-driven insight and direction. 1—Elder Ronald A. Rasband