Neglecting the Means


Sick Cow

Sick Cow

I bolted out of bed to grab a pen while reading a line from Elizabeth Gaskell’s book, Cousin Phillis. A farmer, who was also a minister, prayed for his sick cow, but neglected one day to feed it the extra nourishment which would have given it a better chance of survival. After his prayer, the farmer chastised himself saying, “I was asking for blessing while neglecting the means.” I immediately applied this gem of insight to myself when requesting a particular blessing without doing all I can to bring about the desired result. I know Heavenly Father hears my prayers and desires to bless me. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11). But merely asking isn’t enough. I shouldn’t sit back passively and wait for blessings to drop into my lap, expecting God to do all the work. So I tried a little experiment. On one side of a page I made a list of blessings I had asked for in prayer that day, and on the other side wrote corresponding, specific actions I could take to bring about the desired result. I was astounded at how much more I could do in every case.

5 thoughts on “Neglecting the Means

  1. Andy

    Great point. I kind of don’t want to hear that I need to do more in order to more fully receive the blessings I’m asking for but it is the truth. Using agency to work through problems with faith and repentance is the whole formula for progression. Just asking without effort kind of negates the purpose. An uncomfortable truth… but it makes sense. Thank you.

  2. Mollie

    I am excited to share this with my sunday school class this week. We are talking about agency and the importance of acting instead of being acted upon. I think this relates in an interesting way! Thank you.

  3. Max Eldon Jones

    Great thoughts. I’m guilty of leaving everything to God. C.S. Lewis said it best. “I’ve heard a man offer a prayer for a sick person which really amounted to a diagnosis, followed by advice as to how God should treat the patient.”

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