Sometimes we limit what God can give us by the “receptacle” or “vessel into which something is received” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) we bring to him.
We may come to God begging for spiritual food while holding out a single finger instead of cupping both hands or lifting up a massive basket. Do we come to God expecting much but with nowhere to put what he is willing to give?
It is written that he willing and eager to pour out great blessings and knowledge, but we must come ready and able to receive them.
A small child can only receive simple ideas because their capacities are limited, but as they grow and learn their abilities to receive increase exponentially.
Desire is essential and powerful, but if we want to receive more, we need to increase belief, faith, hope, knowledge, understanding, meditation, and pondering to construct a spiritual receptacle that can receive more.
“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” – 2 Nephi 28:30
I first considered this idea a couple years ago when I went to a temple dedication and had such an amazing spiritual experience. It was so wonderful that I attended the next session too, hoping for more. And I did receive more, but then I had the distinct feeling of being “full.” I could sense that there was more—I wanted it—but there was no more room in myself to receive it. Since then I have prayed that my spiritual capacity will increase—so I can “hold” MORE when I am blessed enough to be given it.
How paradoxical these things can be. We are told that we can be filled with the Holy Ghost to where we no longer hunger or thirst, but then we are also told that we should avoid thinking that we have enough and need no more. How do we unravel that?
It’s true that there are limits to what a vessel can hold, but like in the brother of Jared’s case, his vessel was so large that the Lord could withhold nothing from him. Maybe the blessing of feeling full is a sign of how large our current vessel is and a cue that it is now time to expand.
This is reminiscent of Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
“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.
“His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella so we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings.”
Excellent quote, thank you for sharing. It is very true that God is super anxious to pour out blessings and unfortunately a lot of undeserved blame gets directed toward him. All of this can seem easier said that done though; how does one increase the receptacle or close the umbrella? Well, there are no shortcuts or simple solutions.
It takes sacrifice on our part, a willingness to be humble and put ourselves totally in his mercy. That means discomfort, stepping away from what we perceive is a “safe” place into uncharted territory.
When you think about it though, it makes perfect sense; how can you experience something new by standing in the same place?
And it’s action that leads to progression, inaction to digression. From wherever we’re at, there’s always more ahead awaiting us.
As Boyd K. Packer taught:
“Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that ‘leap of faith,’ as the philosophers call it. It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and stepped into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two. ‘The spirit of man,’ is as the scripture says, indeed ‘is the candle of the Lord’ (Prov. 20:27).”
I remember when learning about these things for the first time how mysterious it all seemed, but the reality is that this type of language is dead on accurate.