We Receive What We Want to Receive

Seeing Is Receiving

The Good Samaritan Had Eyes to See

We usually read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-34, as the lesson about loving our neighbors – all of them. This time though, as you read it, think about why the Samaritan didn’t see the same person as the Levite and the priest did. 

A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. …Likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. (He) went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 

We See What We Want to See

As a person in a different social structure and status than the elite Levite and priest, a man from Samaria certainly had a different view of people in need of help. The Samaritan saw something different because his sight and focus had been trained to be different than that of the Levite and the priest.

When you’re looking for someone in a crowd of people, your focus is singularly on that person. All your senses are zeroed in on what the person looks like, what she’s wearing how her hair looks that day, how she sounds. Ryan Gosling could be in that crowd two feet in front of you, and you wouldn’t notice because you are concentrating so intently on finding who you’re looking for. 

One Person’s Trash…

The other day on a walk, I saw some trash that someone had put out on the curb, waiting to be picked up by the city garbage truck. There were several pieces of furniture that at first glance looked worn and completely unusable. In fact, I wondered why these people had even bothered to keep them around for as long as they had, as the damage appeared to be extensive and irreparable.

There was a couch with stuffing coming out of the cushions. The fabric was stained, and it sat a little crookedly on the curb. There was also a chaise lounge frame. It had been used as a plant stand, it appeared, as there were round water stains on it. The wood was far from pretty. Years of sitting in the sun had dried it out, and it was drab and unappealing.

 

The friend I was with looked at the pile of furniture, and said, “Oh, I wish I had time. I would take that frame and turn it into something beautiful.” What someone saw as trash and unusable someone else saw as something to be restored and loved. 

The Umbrella

Sometimes we do not allow ourselves to receive blessings for the very simple reason that we do not think or believe that those blessings are available to us. 

“Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us.” (Dieter F. Ucthdorf, “Living the Gospel Joyful,” October 2014.)

Think for a moment about any umbrellas you may have in place that are blocking you from receiving the abundance of blessings Heavenly Father has waiting to pour out on your head.

Yes, it is possible that something so seemingly simple could be the thing that is actually blocking us from receiving blessings. Our thoughts carry a tremendous amount of weight and power in determining what happens to or for us. 

The Power of Thoughts

King Benjamin tells us about the power of thoughts in  Mosiah 4:30:

But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.

We are not powerless over our lives, or where we are headed. It is our thoughts that dictate where we will be, what we will be doing next year, in three years, or in five. If I were paraphrasing that verse, I would say something like, “… if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of (the universe), and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning (what you want your life to be), even unto the end of your lives, ye (won’t get what you want)….”

Your Brain Is Not God

Your brain is not God. It is not even a god. It is something to be trained to be used on your behalf. It is not a person or higher power. You don’t need to ask its permission for anything. Keeping filters in place shuts down your faith, and your hope. Instead of blaming God for not receiving blessings, blame your filter. But here’s the good news: You designed it; you can change it. The way you talk about life IS your current filter. What do you want your life to look like? What blessings do you want to receive? YOU get to decide.

Our thoughts ultimately drive our words and our actions. What we think is what we become.

Or as Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In other words, your heart is where your treasure is. What you want is what you’ll see is what you’ll get. 

LauraAuthor
Laura will be the first to tell you she’s not perfect. That’s why she loves the restored gospel, and loves the atonement.
2017-04-12T10:54:32-08:00

About the Author:

Laura will be the first to tell you she’s not perfect. That’s why she loves the restored gospel, and loves the atonement.