Sunday, January 29, 2017

"The Tree of Life"

This week, I was reflecting often on 1 Nephi 8, the Vision of the Tree of Life. In my Book of Mormon class, we talked about this vision in so much depth that it made me think about the amazing lessons that it teaches.

In the beginning of 1 Nephi 8, Lehi is explaining to his sons that he has had a vision. It appears that Nephi had a good role in the vision, but that Laman and Lemuel seemed to have struggled in some way. The rest of the chapter describes the vision, talking about the "rod of iron" that leads to the "tree of life."

I have heard or read about this vision many times during the course of my life. In fact, I often wonder if this is the vision in the scriptures that I have heard the most about! But we talked about something I had never thought of as we compared verses 24 and 30. There are two different types of people that arrive at the Tree of Life. In the first group, they grasp onto the rod and push forward towards the fruit of the tree. In the second group, they fall on their knees as they reach the tree and partake of the fruit. We talked about the difference in how the second group seemed to see it for more as a tree: they realized that it was the Savior or at least a representation of Him. The first group ended up leaving the tree because of the mocking and scorning of the people in the building across the river.

How often do we do this? We seem to avoid seeing things as they really are, taking the Lord out of things that he has played such a big role in. We often are so caught up in the tree that we forget it is really our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ himself. Are we grasping for dear life onto the rod of iron? Or are we holding steadfast and trusting that we will make it as we obey the commandments we've been given?

Although the Vision of the Tree of Life was given thousands of years ago, it still has such an application to us. I think it wise to imagine where we would be on that path at this given time. How will we make it to the tree? How will we see the tree as the Savior? What can we do to get back on the path if we aren't currently on it? These questions will help us see how we can improve. There is nobody that can't come back to the path! It takes a lot of work, but let us all make those improvements necessary and continue onto the Tree of Life.

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