Of Stirring Spirits and Opened Hearts…

For someone who likes to cook there are few things more disappointing than preparing a wonderful meal and having nobody show up for dinner. You spend all that time measuring ingredients, stirring and adding, getting it at just the right temperatures, and then placing delicacies on a plate, garnished and ready to eat. For a special occasion one might even light a candle for the table to announce the meal. What a shame it is when everything is just right and your company does not show.

I suppose it is even a greater shame when one is found hungry, with no place to eat, no meal prepared, and no candle lit, only to go hungry still. There are those born to serve, born to prepare a hearty meal and fill the empty stomach, and there are so many in need of supper. It is most wonderful when the preparer prepares, the receiver receives, and all are blessed in grateful bounty. I know such blessing in both nourishing my body and my spirit. Such is the process of building the kingdom of God on Earth.

As I have been blessed always with food on my table, I have been also blessed to know the Savior and be nourished by His gospel. Have you ever thought of how very blessed we truly are? Are we showing gratitude for this blessing of knowing Jesus? How can we show sufficient gratitude for being born at this time and having God’s kingdom in our lives when so many have been and are yet without, hungry still?

So many have felt desolate and hungry, without hope, except we show true grace and share that with which we have been so bountifully blessed. Save we do so are we not showing ingratitude for the gospel we have received and risk being stripped of the very thing that brings us greatest joy? Even as the children of Israel were left to wander in darkness for rejecting the cornerstone, their rightful King, the day may come that some of us may depart to wander blindly for rejecting Him, by hoarding instead of sharing the “Good News.”

We must respond to the stirrings of our spirits, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with whomever the Lord would invite to His table. The Apostle Paul felt the stirrings from the Spirit of God and responded as he should. “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16). The stirring that occurred in Paul’s spirit caused him to preach the gospel to the Greeks. The Lord stirs our spirits, creating that just so savor and bringing all the needed ingredients together, to do His work and preach His word.

If once our spirits are stirred, we will provide the table, its settings, and the meal prepared, the Lord will provide those to dine and receive.

Another experience from the ministry of Paul shows us that the Lord prepares hearts to receive even as He prepares spirits to share. “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul” (Acts 16:14).

The Lord opens hearts and prepares individuals to receive His word from those whose spirits have been stirred. He prepares the way for His children to gather and become as Zion by preparing both the shepherd and the sheep, the one to teach and the other to hear by stirring and opening. Where would Lydia have gone to sup had not God stirred the spirit of Paul to prepare the meal of gospel nutrition, or had Paul ignored the stirring altogether?

We are those whose spirits He stirs and we must respond to His call to share His gospel or the hearts He opens will not be filled. We must serve our missions, magnify and fulfill our callings and assignments, open our mouths whenever He stirs us, and be sensitive and worthy receptacles of the Spirit so that we can both feel and hear the stirring promptings that He sends. This is a symbiotic relationship where all parts are needed for that stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands to roll forth and fill the whole Earth.

Let us heed the stirrings of our spirits, the divine assignments given by the Lord through His Spirit and servants, that we might fill the open hearts, and bring forth the gathering of His people and establish the kingdom of God. May we for this always special occasion light our candles that all might see it is the time to dine, the table is set, and that we are willing to provide the meal. Let us provide, that none will go hungry. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.