Bill was excited to introduce his friend, Tom, to the sport of mountain biking. Tom was an experienced road biker, and Bill was sure he would take to mountain biking like jelly takes to peanut butter. Bill had just bought a new mountain bike, and he happily let Tom borrow his old bike.
As the pair sat side by side on their bikes at the top of the trailhead, Bill offered Tom one piece of advice. “The most common mistake new mountain bikers make is to hit a rock on the trail without enough momentum. If you go too slow, the rock will catch your front wheel and cause you to endo.”
An accident befell a certain woman outside a town she was on her way to visit. Wounded and in pain, she hobbled the rest of the way to find help.
The road leading into town became Main Street. The woman staggered up to the first building she came to. It looked like a business with its neon “OPEN” sign, so she went in. “Oh,” said a man behind a counter. “What happened? Let me help you.” He pulled some money out of a drawer and waved it. “This should do the trick.” The woman blinked and squinted, trying to understand. The man leaned forward. “This is a bank,” he said. “Some money ought to get you on your way. I just need you to fill out some paperwork.”
My kids like to play outside when the weather’s good. In the late spring and summer, when daylight lasts for multiple hours after dinnertime, they want to rush from the table to the backyard. My wife and I have to remind them that if they do so, their littlest sister, who eats more slowly and is somewhat picky, will abandon her food to go play. She’ll do so not having eaten very much.
So it was with much basis in personal experience that I wrote the Parable of the Uneaten Food. For families at least in more affluent parts of the world, where people can eat their fill and have leftovers, this may be a common occurrence. For people without much means, the idea that any food goes uneaten may be a shock.
I wrote this parable because I think Heavenly Father must feel in some way like Luisa when we only sample and sip from the gospel banquet He has provided. He has provided so much through the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in our times. It’s easy to take it for granted and pick at the feast He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s easy to let our appetites for spiritual nourishment be satisfied by tidbits and morsels, and after we consume them hurry away to things we find more pressing or more enjoyable.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled,” taught the Savior to the Jews (Matthew 5:6). To the Nephites, He clarified, “they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 12:6).
The progenitor of the Nephites, the prophet Nephi, wrote near the end of his record, “Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).
If you were to ask me when the last time was that I filled my life so full with activities that invite the influence of the Holy Ghost that I felt filled, I may not be able to give a good answer. I am trying to spend time in the scriptures, in the temple, reading recent teachings of Church leaders, and so on, but do I get the enjoyment and fulfillment out of it that the Lord wants me to? Or in the midst of doing those things, am I looking ahead to what I’m going to do afterward? Am I merely doing the time and checking a box so I can say I’m on the right path?
If I’m asking, then the answer is probably obvious!
Just as Luisa concluded not to strong-arm her children, Heavenly Father won’t force us. He provides the gospel banquet every day and invites us to eat our fill. He hopes we’ll come to appreciate the rich abundance of truth He has made available. And if I’m not there yet, then rather than binge in a burst of effort, I probably ought to resolve at least to sit at the table a little longer and savor the Word, the Bread of Life a little more.
You may have noticed that not many of the parables on this website have to do with sports. That probably stems from the fact that I don’t often watch or participate in organized sports, so they’re unlikely to be on the brain at any given time.
That said, I’ll admit that a good sports analogy has its place. I see analogies as parables in miniature. One of my kids participated in tackle football recently, and something her coach said on at least a couple of occasions stood out to me as one of those principles you can take with you as you leave the field.
Maddie slowed as the semi-truck in front of her pulled to a stop. They had both changed lanes to avoid some semis that were stopped in the far lane, but now it looked like that had been a futile effort to avoid what was to come. She tried to contain her impatience as it became clear nothing was moving. Although she couldn’t see much through the snow that was being blown sideways across the road, she guessed this standstill might be more permanent.