Today we had a meeting with several other missionaries serving in the California Santa Rosa area. We talked about various different things. One thing that stuck out to me that I wanted to talk about today was that of faith having a short shelf life.
We are told various times in the scriptures to nourish our faith and exercise our faith. But what does this really mean? What does it mean to "nourish" or "exercise" our faith? And what can it really do?
I think of the scripture in Alma chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon that talks a lot about faith, and it compares it to a seed. One verse that sticks out to me is Vs. 38-39 "But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out. Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof."
Sometimes we invite people to learn about this gospel, which can produce fruit that is "most desirable above all other fruit" The people plant the seed and it might even grow a little bit. But then they don't take time to water and feed the plant, by reading and praying. The seed dies and they never taste of the fruit. Or they do get to the point where they see the fruit, but then think all is well. Then the tree withers away and they have no more fruit. It is essential to always nourish, and water the tree. If we let our faith sit on the shelf, it will grow old and die.
The phrase "exercise our faith" sticks out to me alot as well. Think about when we physically excersise... It takes along time to build up muscle even with daily training. But if we were to stop for just a month or even a week, those muscles we build are weak again. We must at that point start all over.
I know that we all must continue to strengthen and nourish our faith and never stop. No matter where our tree is, if it is sprouting or it fills the sky. We can never stop nourishing and exercising our faith.