Monday, February 13, 2012

Feast Like a Flamingo

I was trying to get a talk written to give in sacrament meeting.  I was struggling to put it all together and then I got home to a letter one day.  This letter was the answer to my prayers.  It was the perfect article to use for my talk.  I was so happy that I nearly jumped for joy.  I wanted to share the talk with you!  Hope you enjoy and that it changes your perspective on feasting a little bit.
As you begin reading I want you to think of a huge feast.  It can be whatever you want it to be.  Maybe for you it's Thanksgiving dinner.  For my brother and I it would be chocolate waffles with a hefty amount of moose tracks ice cream on them.  Whatever it is you love you can have it at this feast.  Now that you have this picture in your mind I want you to think of how you're going to dish up.  Are you going to meagerly put some food on your plate or are you going to load it to heaping full, so full that it's falling off the sides are you walk back to the table?  Now, you've sat down, said your prayer and you're ready to begin. How are you eating?  Are you sheepishly picking at your plate not really eating much, or are you digging in?!  Is your face dirty?  Are you going back for seconds?  How about thirds?  You're finished now.  If you're like me you're stuffed to the brim.  You're full and you're happy!
We can feast on food, but there's something more.  Our spirit yearns for a good feast.  The best part of feasting spiritually:  it's calorie free!  You can "feast" all you want and not worry about your figure!  In fact 2 Nephi 9:51 says:  Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.  Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.  Focus on the let your souls delight in fatness!  We don't have to keep our spirits trim!
In the January 2012 New Era there was an article titled:  Feast Like a Flamingo.  Did you know that flamingos are pink because of their diet?  Flamingos "feast" on brine shrimp and algae that are high in betacarotine.  Betacarotine is a pigment that causes a yellow, orange, or pink color.  So, in reality if a flamingo decided to change his diet to trout he would also change his coloring from pink to white.  If a flamingo was white we probably wouldn't even realize it was a flamingo.  Does what we spiritually feast on change how others identify us?  2 Nephi 31:20 says:  Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father:  Ye shall have eternal life.  We are encouraged to "press forward feasting on the words of Christ."  Many people of other faiths describe us as having a glow or a light in our eyes.  Could that be the result of our feasting?  Instead of being bright pink we receive light from Christ.  We can be identified as disciples of Christ by this light.
A flamingo is pink because he eats what he should, but if he stops eating this he will become ill and pale.  If we stop feasting spiritually on the words of Christ we will become spiritually ill and lose that bright, godly countenance.  We will no longer be recognized as disciples of Jesus Christ, just as no one would notice a white flamingo.  A great example of spiritual feasting is Elder Nelson (in the quorum of the 12 apostles).  He shared this story.  I believe that these colleagues recognized a light in his eyes.  Here is his story: 
Many years ago two colleagues of mine—a nurse and her doctor husband—asked me why I lived the way I did. I answered, “Because I know the Book of Mormon is true.” I let them borrow my copy of the book, inviting them to read it. A week later they returned my book with a polite “thanks a lot.”
I responded, “What do you mean, thanks a lot? That’s a totally inappropriate response for one who has read this book. You didn’t read it, did you! Please take it back and read it; then I would like my book back.”
Admitting that they had only turned its pages, they accepted my invitation. When they returned, they said tearfully, “We have read the Book of Mormon. We know it is true! We want to know more.” They learned more, and it was my privilege to baptize both of them.
As we have experiences that strengthen our testimonies we desire for our friends and family to have this gospel.  In Doctrine and Covenants 11:21 we are told:  Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.   We must be spiritually feasting and then we will have the Spirit to guide us in our conversations and our missionary efforts.  I know that missionary work brings only joy.  If this scripture is right, and it is, then missionary work begins with spiritual feasting.  Spiritual feasting leads to the spirit being with us and to others recognizing us as disciples of Jesus Christ, just as a flamingo's feast makes him easily recognized as a flamingo.  Let our spiritual feasts begin.