The Lord’s Footstool
Yesterday I mowed my parents lawn. It was an all-day affair involving chasing off geese multiple times, moving turtles out of the weedeater’s way, and enduring the muggy pre-summer heat of Alabama.
As the sweat rolled into my eyes, I pulled a few stretch marks, and cooked like an overdone pork roast, I kept thinking of Adam and Eve. “I’m sure glad the Fall happened,” I grumbled to myself as I walked up the steep hill my parents live on for the nineteenth time. “Work by the sweat of my brow. Ohhh yeah. This is great.” – Sometimes I am sure I could have been a murmuring Nephite. – But once the work was done, I sat on the front deck overlooking the freshly manicured lawn and the beautiful ponds below, and I watched the sun setting in the west, all the thoughts of grumpiness went away. “This is just beautiful,” I said out loud as the frogs and bugs of Alabama brought the evening to life with their buzz. “I am really blessed to live in such a beautiful place.”
I’ll be honest and confess that I have no idea where Alabama got the nickname Alabama the Beautiful, but I can attest to the truth of its nickname. From the stunning sunsets atop Mt. Cheaha to the lightning bugs that hover over country train tracks at dusk, the heart of Dixie is a truly beautiful place.
Last week in our sacrament meeting our youth speaker (who did a super fantastic job!) gave a short talk in which she mentioned how her family has spent a Family Home Evening at a local park picking up trash. Afterwards her mother taught her about the importance of taking care of our planet because it is Heavenly Father’s. It really touched me.
I remember riding with my Grandpa Way in the car when I was about five or six years old. We were driving down a simple country road behind a small pickup truck. Then trash began blowing out of the back of the truck. First was a plastic bag, then a couple of bottles, until finally a whirlwind of things had blown from the back of the small truck onto the side of the road. My Grandpa Way seemed infuriated by this, and took it as an opportunity to teach me the importance of not littering. We then followed this small truck all the way to its final destination where my grandfather gave the young man driving it a strong lesson and a fair amount of finger wagging for his lack of care for the environment.
That lesson has never left me. And, as I recall the loudly worded manner in which my Grandpa delivered his lesson in a stranger’s driveway, I am sure that young gentleman has never forgot that lesson either.
I love these verses from The Book of Mormon:
Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should posses it…
He ruleth high in the heavens, for it is his throne, and this earth is his footstool.
1 Nephi 17:36 & 39
In my overly-visualistic mind I literally picture the Lord sprawled out righteously, yet comfortably, across the expanse of our solar system. His head is on the golden cushion of the sun. And His feet rest comfortably on this tiny green earth which we are blessed to inhabit.
Do we honor the Lord’s footstool? Do we treat it with the respect and honor which it deserves? Do we ever casually toss trash out the windows of our cars? Do we take the proper care to beautify the small parcels of land which we are blessed to inhabit? In short, do we ensure that the footstool of the Lord is clean enough for His holy presence?
The words of the hymn come to mind,
For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.
– For the Beauty of the Earth, LDS Hymnal #92
I am thankful to live on such a beautiful earth. And although it is by the sweat of my brow that I am to enjoy this mortal life and this beautiful earth, I think it will be worth it in the end.
– Stan Way