3 And yet, I being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land, and started again on our journey into the wilderness to go up to the land; but we were smitten with famine and sore afflictions; for we were slow to remember the Lord our God.
I’ve been thinking about how to avoid the trap of overzealousness. It’s easy to become so excited about a worthy goal that we make foolish decisions, ignoring risks and issues that should have been obvious to us.
Zeniff was sent to spy on the Lamanites, who were the enemies of his people. But when he “saw that which was good among them,” he argued against a planned attack. The resulting conflict within his own army escalated to bloodshed, which ended the mission.
After returning home, Zeniff recruited a group of people who were interested in immigrating to the land of their ancestors, which was the land of the Lamanites. His enthusiasm for the project led him to unwisely trust the king of the Lamanites and to place himself and his people in danger.
Zeniff’s motives were good, but he made a serious mistake because he was unable to see things as they really were. If he had been willing to question his plans, to think about how things could go wrong, and to listen to opposing points of view, he might have avoided this catastrophic outcome, which affected his people for three generations.
Today, I will avoid overzealousness. I will remember that my enthusiasm, even for a worthy cause, can blind me to the dangers and risks I face. I will discipline myself to slow down, listen to advice from people I trust, and seek the guidance of the Spirit in order to avoid making unwise decisions.