Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My modern day parable

For New Testament class, Dave and I had to write a paper about a modern day parable. I asked my dad and he gave me some helpful :o) hints that I might need to use for my next paper, thanks though!!
This is what I came up with:
The Parable Of the Bench Press

               I had taken a weight training class and really enjoyed how it felt. I felt healthier and more in shape. I hoped to keep going to the gym and lifting weights, but my professor had told the class that we couldn’t go weight lifting without a partner, and I didn’t have anyone to go with. Well, in relief society that next Sunday, I was talking to a group of women and one of them mentioned that she needed a work-out partner. I told her that I was trying to get to the gym to lift weights and she was excited to learn how. We set a time to go the next morning and we made a goal to make it to the gym three days a week.
                Both my new work out partner and I started lifting at a low weight. We each did seven repetitions and then spotted for the other while they did their seven reps. We did three sets each of these seven reps. Then we went to the next lifting machine. It was fun to work out with a partner and she kept me going and pushing my limits.

                Our work outs continued like this for a few weeks. Both my partner and I gradually increased the weights until we met and surpassed our goals on each machine. One day, my partner called in sick, but she encouraged me to go by myself. I knew that lifting weights was really helping me stay in shape, so I did go without my partner, telling myself to keep it light and easy today. I continued through our usual workout until I got to the bench press.
The bench press is the most dangerous weight lifting machine. When you get tired on the bench press, you can’t just let the weights down or they will crush your chest. You have to use all your strength to push the bar up just one more time and rest it on the pegs. It is important to have a partner there because if you can’t quite muster up the strength to lift the bar all the way up to the pegs, you can say “help!” and your spotter will take a little bit of the weight and help you lift the bar back onto the pegs. It is an unspoken rule of weight lifting that you don’t help your partner until they say “help!”
Well I hopped on and started at a higher weight than I did the last time. I thought to myself that I would quit at just two sets if I got tired so I wouldn’t be in any danger. I pushed through the two sets with a shorter break than I usually did with my partner. My arms were feeling tired, but I thought if I could just push through and do those last seven reps, my partner would be so impressed with how far I had progressed. I started pressing the weights from off my chest and as high as I could stretch my arms out. On the fourth press, I knew that I was getting exhausted. By the fifth, my arms were shaking. “Just two more. I can do it!” I thought. As I let the weights back down to my chest, I prepared to press the bar back up and my arms could not do it. I laid there, straining and squirming and pushing as hard as I could to keep the bar from coming down on my chest. I wanted to cry “help!” but my partner wasn’t there to take some of the weight off. I was all alone with way too much of a load for my own good.
Luckily, someone walking by saw my predicament and helped me lift the bar back onto the pegs. I thanked them and left the gym in a hurry, thankful to have avoided an accident.
Lifting on the bench press is like our lives. We start out small and light, with minimal responsibilities. Then, as we turn eight and reach the age of accountability, we are responsible for our own actions. We add some weight to the end of our bar. Then, as we mature and get older, we are expected to go to church every Sunday, pray and read scriptures every day. We add some weight to the end of our bar. After that has become easier for us, we add service, visiting teaching, church callings, temple attendance and missions onto our bar. We are able to lift it because we have slowly worked our way up to the weight of being faithful saints. “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Eph. 2:19–21) It makes us feel good and strong and spiritually in shape. The little things are not such a chore to us because we are used to lifting all of it at the same time. Praying and reading scriptures every day isn’t hard because we are used to doing that and so much more.
However, if we stop spiritually working out every day, we lose our strength. If we stop attending the temple, going to all three meetings at church, and fulfilling our calling to the best of our ability it makes the weight so much harder to bear. We are out of spiritual shape. When we are ready to get back into spiritual shape, we cannot instantly pick up the same weight as we left off. We must work on it and slowly build back up the weight of being a true saint.
Sometimes we add just a little too much to our spiritual bar of weights. On top of scripture study, prayers, temple attendance, service, church, callings, and visiting/home teaching we place other righteous activities such as family time, school, work, and recreation onto our bar. Sometimes, it is all too much for us to handle. But we always have a spotting partner. Christ will always be with us and will always be aware of our needs. All we need to do is cry “Help!” in a sincere prayer and He will help us with the weight.  He won’t take all of our weight away, but He will help us get our bar up to the peg and let us have a rest before we try it again. He might even take some of the weight off so we are able to keep doing our repetitions. We sometimes feel that we can do it alone, without the aid of our partner. But while we strain and squirm under our immense weight, He is waiting for us saying “Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. … Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:34, 36). He is hoping we will humble ourselves and cry out to Him, because he will let us struggle until we pray “Lord, please help.” Struggling will help us realize that we need help. The help we need is that of Christ, and this help should be found in his Church. (Neil J. Flinders, Rom. 1:16.)

The Lord has so much more strength than we do and it is almost silly for us to think that we can do this alone, without our spotter. Without Christ, we would be crushed under our weights. Without Christ, our load is too heavy. Without Christ, our cornerstone, our faith, or Lord, we will fall. “In the strength of the Lord we can do and endure and overcome all things.” (David A. Bednar). With Christ, we prevail, we strive, we grow and we can do great and marvelous things.

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