Photo Courtesy of Royce S. on Flickr
I had an interesting experience the other day. I was on my way home from work trying to transition my mind from my workplace mindset, to my home and family mindset. I was listening to the radio and a rather innocuous commercial came on. I listened to part of the commercial, and then turned the radio off.
My mind began following a series of thoughts based on the commercial. As my mind went down its track, my internal warning system went off. Like the old Lost In Space TV show when the family robot would warn: "Danger Will Robinson! Danger!"
I began to perceive that the Spirit of the Lord was imploring me to stop this line of thought. I felt the Spirit beginning to withdraw from me, and I wondered why. It was like stopping a wagon, with a runaway team of horses. I had to rein in my thoughts, and say WHOA!
I began retracing my steps. Where had I gone astray? What was it that had grieved the Spirit. As I retraced the progression (or digression) of my thoughts, I finally got back to the commercial that I had heard on the radio. Then it hit me! The Ah-Hah! moment. I knew what was wrong with my thinking.
The commercial had been from a company which encouraged you to buy their products to give as a gift. The item was a nice thing, and something that I may well give to someone in the future. But where I had gone wrong, was in my attitude about giving the gift. I had begun to think of what I might gain by giving the gift -- Not how it might make the other person feel. I had begun to think of what rewards I might recieve (or even be entitled to) because I had been such a good gift giver. The underlying motivation of such behavior was to gain credit for myself, instead of truly, freely, and unselfishly giving.
It was at this point that the Spirit had stepped in. "Stop!", it said. "This is hurting you." "I will leave if you keep going down this path." I had begun to feel a dark, emptiness in my heart as the Spirit was beginning to withdraw. It was at this point that I reined in the runaway horses, and began tracing my steps back to find out where I had gone off the main road.
I repented on the spot. I made my course correction, and I felt the sweet presence of the Spirit return to my soul once more.
Wow. What a lesson! All in the space of but a few moments. Upon reflection, I am grateful for the lessons learned through this experience.
First, the lesson of true gift giving. True charity seeketh not her own. That is what I was doing wrong in my thoughts. I was thinking of my own selfish interests, not of the welfare of the individual who would be receiving the gift. The sweet feeling of unselfishly giving of yourself, with no thought of reward or recognition for yourself would be lost. Likewise, blessings from God would be forfeited if a gift is given under such circumstances. Somehow I lost sight of these things as my thoughts got away from me that day.
The second lesson was about the built-in alarm systems we have in ourselves if we are trying to live close to the Spirit of the Lord. I was warned not to proceed with this line of thought. I am thankful for the warnings that we can receive, if we are listening to that Still, Small, Voice. Not only can we be warned, but we can be taught important truths. And armed with that truth, we can avoid making mistakes in our lives.
Yes, I was warned, and I was chastend. And I am all the better for it.