Reaching Christ: Are You Willing to Put in Some Work?

20130625-145550.jpgAs we learn in the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ appeared to the people on the American continent after his resurrection from the dead. After a glorious first day of teaching and healing, Jesus departed and the people returned to their homes. Or what was left of their homes, considering the recent destruction caused by the tempests, earthquakes, fires, whirlwinds, and physical upheavals that followed His crucifixion. (see 3 Nephi 8)

But the day’s work wasn’t done. And for some, the night would be long indeed. As it says in 3 Nephi 19:2-3,

“…it was noised abroad among the people immediately, before it was yet dark, that the multitude had seen Jesus, and that he had ministered unto them, and that he would also show himself on the morrow unto the multitude.

Yea, and even all the night it was noised abroad concerning Jesus; and insomuch did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude.”

An exceedingly great number labored exceedingly all night to get to the appointed place – the temple – eager to see Jesus and listen to his teachings.

Yes, they must have labored exceedingly, and not just because they had to scramble to pack and travel a long distance. Remember what I said about the earth having just rebelled because of Christ’s crucifixion? The roads – if there were any left – must have been muddier than usual and covered with debris. Food and water sources had most likely been compromised, possessions and livelihoods obliterated. Dealing with the aftermath, stressing over how to rebuild…they must have been exhausted already!

In addition, many were probably wounded after all the commotion. Some had likely lost family members and friends. Entire cities had perished in fire, been buried under the earth, or sunk into the sea: everything was a mess, and the level of shock, despair, and anxiety…why would anybody want to add to all that the inconvenience and danger of travel?

But the promise of hope made the people take a deep breath and strap a few supplies to their worn backs. They sloshed and trudged, stumbled and gasped. When they wanted to sink down onto the ground and let the morning dew wash away their consciousness, they pressed forward. Some surely tore up the soles of their bare feet to get the chance to feel the nail marks in His feet.

Do we labor exceedingly to reach Christ? Or do we sit idly in our corner or make half-hearted efforts, expecting Him to reach for us?

The truth is, He’s always reaching for us.

But sometimes we need to labor exceedingly – or at least show a hint of desire – to get to where He’s already promised to appear.

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