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.
The Book of Mormon teaches an important principle about obedience: our choice is not really whether to obey or to disobey. Instead, we choose whom we will obey. King Benjamin taught his people that, when we fight and argue with each other, we are choosing “to obey the evil spirit” (Mosiah 2:32), whether we realize it or not.
In the passage above, Mormon amplifies this thought by telling us that “every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey.” I like that metaphor. Spiritually, we are all fully employed. We even get to choose our own boss. We would be wise to think about how each of our prospective employers pays their people as we decide whom we would like to work for.
I’m sure that the Amlicites, who provoked the war which resulted in so many deaths in this chapter, wouldn’t have described themselves as choosing to obey an evil spirit. They might have been offended by the suggestion that they were obeying anyone at all. But they were, whether they realized it or not.
Today, as I make decisions, I will pay attention to the influences which I am choosing to follow. I will be particularly vigilant in considering whether my actions, words, and thoughts are in harmony with the Spirit of the Lord or with a different spirit. I will remember Mormon’s warning that I will receive “wages of him whom [I list] to obey.”