My husband was laid off from his job several months ago. He’s gotten a few consulting jobs but we’re still wondering what and when will be coming our way employment-wise.
An opportunity to volunteer in the Bishop’s Storehouse came up last month. My husband signed up right away. “I need all the blessings I can get,” he told me, as if I hadn’t been thinking the same thing. As if I hadn’t been thinking that when I offered to go on splits with the sister missionaries. As if my husband hasn’t thought that as he’s prepared his lessons every day for early morning Seminary.
I have to admit that I don’t really understand the concept of blessings.
HYPOTHESIS #1: I do a little favor for Heavenly Father, He does a little favor for me. I’m used to thinking that a blessing is a big deal. But maybe a blessing is the cosmic equivalent of finding a penny on the ground. Are blessings like the sprinkles on an ice cream Sundae? A nice little touch but nothing compared to the ice cream and hot fudge?
HYPOTHESIS #2: Trials are like a debt. The main way to get through my trials (and out of debt) is through time. Just like making a house payment every month will eventually eliminate the burden of a mortgage, with the passage of time all my problems will eventually work themselves out (some trials may not end until after death, but they will end). Everything passes: unemployment, bad relationships, sadness. They all stop at some point. Time heals all wounds, right? But there is a faster way to get out of debt and through my trials: blessings! Blessings are like some sort of Heavenly currency that will pay off my debt faster than normal. Ergo, the more blessings I can rack up, the faster Heavenly Father will help my husband find a job.
HYPOTHESIS #3: Blessings have nothing to do with my everyday life and are only used to build myself a mansion in Heaven. Therefore blessings are really only redeemable after death.
HYPOTHESIS #4: Shut up about the blessings, Jennie! You should just volunteer to help people because it’s the right thing to do, not because you’re expecting something in return.
I feel like I should go with Hypothesis #4 and be good merely because I’m supposed to, not because I’m greedy for blessings. But then there are scriptures like Malachi 3:10 that promise if we pay tithing the Lord will pour out blessings upon us. Or D&C 130 which says that blessings are predicated on obedience. Obviously the Lord knows we weak-willed people aren’t going to do something without some sort of incentive.
Are we to consider blessings something to be earned? Are they the carrot dangling from a stick, urging us along in the Gospel? If not, what are they?