“Will I Ever Be Like Nephi?” New Era, Feb. 2009, 45
I remember having a particularly difficult time at one point during my mission to Cleveland, Ohio. I wondered why I wasn’t seeing the same tangible success other missionaries in my area seemed to be having. My own weakness was foremost in my mind as I pondered the dilemma. I couldn’t help but think that I was doing something wrong, though I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. I counseled with the Lord many times about the situation and also turned to the scriptures. One morning in my study of the Book of Mormon, I came across a verse that was the answer to my prayers and added strength to my testimony.
“Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence” (1 Nephi 17:15).
I had always thought of Nephi as a great prophet who never made any mistakes. I admired Nephi, but I felt I would never be as great as he was. However, when I read this verse written by Nephi, I realized that he was mortal and imperfect also. He didn’t write, “I, Nephi, kept all the commandments perfectly all the time.” Rather, he wrote that he “did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord.”
That simple verse touched me. Suddenly I realized that I am no different from Nephi or any other great prophet or missionary. We’ve been given the same commandments, and they will be judged on how well they improved their time on earth just as I will be. I don’t have to be perfect; I only have to strive to keep the commandments and do the very best I can with the abilities I have been given. In the end, when I come up short of perfection, it will be the Lord’s grace that will make up for the rest. Through this otherwise simple verse, I gained a greater testimony of the scriptures as communication from Heavenly Father.