Monday, November 3, 2008

3 Nephi 17 Behold Your Little Ones

3 Nephi 17 has always been one of my favorite chapters- for obvious reasons. Who couldn't love the mental picture of Christ showing such personal love and attention for each little child. It reminds me that he loves my little children as well. I don't trust anyone to walk my children across a parking lot. I can't imagine that anyone is as concerned about them as I am- but I know that Christ is.

11 And it came to pass that he commanded that their little children should be brought.

12 So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought unto him

15 He himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.

16 And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;

17 And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.

18 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the joy of the multitude that they were overcome.

19 And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise.

20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

21 And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

22 And when he had done this he wept again;

23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.

President Hinkley said this on the subject of children:

Once when our grandchildren were small, my wife and I took some of them to the circus. I recall that I was more interested in watching them and many others of their kind than in watching the man on the flying trapeze. I looked at them in wonder as they alternately laughed and stared wide-eyed at the exciting things before them. And I thought of the miracle of children who become the world’s constant renewal of life and purpose. Observing them in the intensity of their interest, even in this atmosphere, I felt my mind revert to that beautiful and touching scene recorded in the book of 3 Nephi when the resurrected Lord took little children in His arms and wept as He blessed them and said to the people, “Behold your little ones” (3 Nephi 17:23).
It is so obvious that the great good and the terrible evil in the world today are the sweet and the bitter fruits of the rearing of yesterday’s children. As we train a new generation, so will the world be in a few years. If you are worried about the future, then look to the upbringing of your children. Wisely did the writer of Proverbs declare, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
When I was a boy, we lived on a fruit farm in the summer. We grew great quantities of peaches. Our father took us to tree pruning demonstrations put on by the agricultural college. Each Saturday during January and February, we would go out to the farm and prune the trees. We learned that by clipping and sawing in the right places, even when snow was on the ground and the wood appeared dead, we could shape a tree so that the sun would touch the fruit which was to come with spring and summer. We learned that in February we could pretty well determine the kind of fruit we would pick in September.
E. T. Sullivan once wrote these interesting words: “When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn’t stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother’s heart, and she puts it into the baby’s mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies.”1
And those babies, I should like to add, will become forces for good or ill, depending in large measure on how they are reared. The Lord, without equivocation, has declared, “I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth” (D&C 93:40).

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