What Doth It Profit That We Have Kept His Ordinances? – 3 Nephi 24:13-18

13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say: What have we spoken against thee?
14 Ye have said: It is vain to serve God, and what doth it profit that we have kept his ordinances and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts?
15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
18 Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
When the Savior appeared to the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, He quoted a number of scriptures to them. This passage from Malachi is one of them. 
In the passage, a group of people complains that their righteousness doesn’t seem to bring a lot of happiness into their lives, while the wicked people seem to be doing pretty well. The Lord answers that their perspective is limited. In the end, it will be easy to tell the righteous from the wicked. Those who have been righteous consistently over time will be blessed and prospered, and those who have been wicked will not.
I’ve been thinking today about the way these people framed their question: “What doth it profit that we have kept his ordinances?” Why ordinances? As we discussed yesterday, priesthood ordinances, together with consistent religious practices like prayer and scripture study, bring order into our otherwise chaotic lives. I think the question the people are asking is, “If we are doing the exact things that are supposed to make our lives orderly and purposeful, why do we feel so much less successful than the people who aren’t doing those things?” The answer: it takes time. The process of becoming everything that God wants us to become–everything that these ordinances can help us become–is a gradual one. It doesn’t happen all at once. Don’t complain about the outcome when you’re still in the middle of the process. We need to have patience and faith, and stick with the program.
Today, I will remember that I am in the middle of a process of becoming what Heavenly Father wants me to become. I will have faith that keeping my covenants and obeying God’s commandments will bring order and success into my life, even though it may take a long time to see the results.

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