Whom He Listeth to Obey – Alma 3:26-27

26 And in one year were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one.
27 For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey, and this according to the words of the spirit of prophecy; therefore let it be according to the truth. And thus endeth the fifth year of the reign of the judges.

We receive our wages from the one whom we “list to obey.” What does “list” mean in that context? It means to choose something because you really want it.  The Savior told Nicodemus, “The wind bloweth where it listeth” (John 3:8), and he later lamented that John the Baptist had come and the scribes “had done unto him whatsoever they listed” (Mark 9:13).
When a boat or a building is “listing,” it is tilting or leaning to one side.  As I think about the importance of “listing to obey,” I imagine a large ship and wonder: which direction am I leaning? Am I obeying the commandments grudgingly, wishing that I could act differently, in effect leaning toward the world? Or am I living the gospel with my whole heart and finding joy in obedience to the Lord? His invitation to all of us is: “Draw near unto me…seek me diligently” (D&C 88:63). He wants us to “list” toward Him and toward the happiness which His plan can bring into our lives.
What about a person who lists to obey the enemy of righteousness? The “wages” which he receives are not attractive: “for his wages he receiveth death, as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works” (Alma 5:42). That certainly does not qualify as a “living wage,” and definitely falls short of the “minimum wage” which we ought to expect for ourselves!
Today, I will make sure that my heart is in the right place, that I am “listing to obey” the Lord: following Him not only because it is the right thing to do but because I really do love Him and really do seek for righteousness!

4 thoughts on “Whom He Listeth to Obey – Alma 3:26-27

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  1. Thanks for the feedback! You might be interested to know that King Benjamin used the same phrase in his speech: Mosiah 2:33-37. I think Mormon had King Benjamin's speech on his mind as he wrote this passage.
    Thanks for your comment!


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