After the Manner of Happiness

What are some of your favorite things? What makes you happy?  

A few of my favorite things:    Books — reading and learning,  Crio Bru — we call it “choffee” at our house, pickleball, yoga, my journals and writing, the scriptures — I especially love finding cool connection in the scriptures!

So, in reading the Book of Mormon this year I asked, what are some of Nephi’s favorite things? 

“For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them…my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord…(1 Nephi 4:15-16).”

Later we learn that Nephi “in the words of Isaiah (2 Ne. 25).”

In Isaiah we learn the Lord’s favorite things: “for the Lord delighteth in thee…(Isaiah 62:4).”

Soul Salvation - as my young Sunday School student would say.  The Lord delights in the salvation of our souls.  In fact He states, “This is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39).” 

We are His favorite things!  YOU are His favorite thing! 

Soul Salvation!  The soul is both our physical and our spiritual beings joined together.  God cares about the welfare of our souls — both the physical and the spiritual.  He delights in the things we righteously delight in! 

When Nephi cried unto the Lord for mercy, He declared, in essence, that God was His favorite thing as well.  “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever (2 Ne. 4:34).” 

With that trust in the Lord, Nephi asks for help in delivery from his enemies (v. 31). After much tribulation, more struggles and a lot of fear, Nephi takes those who will follow him and they flee into the wilderness.  Once they find a place to rest, they establish a community.  The scriptures then state, “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness (2 Ne. 5:27).” 

What is happiness?  In 2 Nephi 2:13 we read: 

And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

This new Nephite community knew what it would take for happiness.   “…I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands (2 Ne. 5:17).”  They built buildings, raised animals, sowed seeds, and worked the land — hard, physical labor. They also built a temple and Nephi established priesthood power — giving space for their spiritual welfare as well.  This signifies the Lord doesn’t only care about individual soul salvation, but community soul salvation as well! 

Going back to your favorite things — what brings you happiness? What did the Nephites have that brought their community together in a state of happiness?  What did they do? Elder Rasband has us ask the question a little differently:  What matters to you?  (See CR Nov. 2021) 

Happiness doesn’t come only by immersing ourselves in our favorite things.  Happiness comes through putting effort into the things that matter to us — our favorite things.  Without effort, there would be no happiness. The one thing He asks is that we make Him our favorite.  Nephi delighted in the things of the Lord. Do we?  The Nephite community made space and gave effort to the things of the Lord. Do we? 

* * * * * 

“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” 

 — Psalm 37:4


Popular Posts