Jesus once said:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matthew 7:6)
Many years ago (10? 11?), I was visiting a ward out of state. During Relief Society, the lesson was on spiritual gifts. The teacher was good and very eager to discuss the topic. She asked if anyone would be willing to share their specific spiritual gifts with the group.
It was quiet for a bit, and I decided to raise my hand. I had received zero promptings to share; I didn’t even feel compelled to share outside of my own pride. I figured, “I’ve got this one great spiritual gift –I should share it with everyone!” I didn’t think I was sharing to brag…
I shared this gift (I’m purposefully not sharing it with you, dear reader, because it would defeat the point!) and the teacher said she was a little envious, that this gift was something she had always hoped to be given. I felt a little smug. I was pretty satisfied with myself and my amazing gift! I don’t think anyone in the room felt anything was amiss –the only thing amiss was my heart.
Lo, and behold, I discovered (very soon) that the specific spiritual gift I had described to everyone, in that very moment, was taken from me. It was gone. Honestly, it felt as if something was quietly removed from my soul. I felt the absence.
I felt awful. I felt so repentant. I felt incredibly humbled.
Over the course of the next 2-3 years, I struggled to regain that gift back. I learned a lot about humility, spiritual gifts, pride, and what it means to give the glory to God. I realized that every good thing we have been given is for the betterment of mankind and to bring souls to Christ. They aren’t to raise ourselves above others!
I learned that “Pearls before swine” doesn’t always mean sharing spiritual things with evil people –it could really mean just sharing sacred things we have no right to share until we’ve been prompted to share it by the Holy Ghost. It could mean sharing sacred things with a bunch of nice people at church…
A good friend of mine recently told me that she often thinks about Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she receives sacred, personal revelation. Mary didn’t go tell everyone about it. She, as far as we know, didn’t share her experiences with very many people. She had been given the greatest gift of all time! She would be the very mother of God! What did she do with the information?
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)
This makes me wonder what I’m doing when I share too many things on social media, in church, or even with friends about my relationship with God, the things I learn from the Holy Ghost, and the promptings I receive. Do I share too much? Too little? Where is the line?
I’m still learning when I should share sacred things, with whom I could share them, and in what way they should be shared. I think I err on the side of sharing too much, sometimes, so it’s something I think about a lot. How many pearls am I casting? How can I be more like Mary?
Another thing I learned is that the spiritual gift I had been given wasn’t even mine in the first place. The gift was a Gift of the Spirit –a gift from God. Whether or not I brought it with me on my mortal journey doesn’t really matter, because all good things come from God. He had every right to give it to me and every right to take it away when I needed to learn not only humility, but patience, faith, and some gratitude, for good measure.
Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21)
Slowly, dear reader, I regained the spiritual gift I had lost. I believe it has returned fully, but I’m very careful about how I use it. I don’t discuss it casually with people and I try to use it in the way God had intended me to use it.
I listen for the promptings of the Holy Ghost before I share my gift. I try to heed the counsel I receive from Heaven. I’m still learning, but I’m grateful for the chance I had to regain something that has become precious to me.
It made me think about Joseph Smith Jr. and Martin Harris, and how, in an effort to please his friend, Joseph ended up losing the ability to translate. It was taken from him for a very long time! I can’t imagine how frustrating and humbling that must have been for him, especially since he had known better and he knew he had been commanded to translate the Book of Mormon quickly. But like me, Joseph repented, he was humbled, and he was given back the gift of translation from God.
When I think about his experience, and how it mirrors my own, my heart swells with gratitude for such a merciful and loving Father in Heaven. He is the greatest of all, and yet He takes effort in teaching us all, so individually, the things that we need to know to become more like Him.
Every time we repent, we are forgiven. Every time we take a step in the right direction, He is there to help us. Even the tiniest of efforts can yield immediate and miraculous results and brings us to Christ.
Jesus Christ exemplified the humility I’ve been trying to understand in every way. He did the will of His Father without complaint. He served without expecting rewards. He healed (raised people from the dead!) and asked people not to boast of His power and strength.
He was meek, mild, loving, and oh, so humble. He gave all the glory to Heavenly Father, never once attempting to take it for Himself, even though He had been given all the spiritual gifts.
I still need to work on humility, but I’m grateful for the experience I had that showed me how important it is to give the glory to God, wait for the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and keep sacred things sacred.
Cheryl S. Savage
Cheryl S. Savage has one incredible husband and seven sensational kids. Since earning her bachelor's degree in marriage and family studies at BYU many years ago, she spends her time raising the kids, teaching piano lessons, voraciously reading, traveling, romanticizing, writing, and learning. She and her husband have moved their family from coast to coast, but currently reside in Kansas.