26 And when he saw that Ammon had no desire to destroy him, and when he also saw the great love he had for his son Lamoni, he was astonished exceedingly, and said: Because this is all that thou hast desired, that I would release thy brethren, and suffer that my son Lamoni should retain his kingdom, behold, I will grant unto you that my son may retain his kingdom from this time and forever; and I will govern him no more—
27 And I will also grant unto thee that thy brethren may be cast out of prison, and thou and thy brethren may come unto me, in my kingdom; for I shall greatly desire to see thee. For the king was greatly astonished at the words which he had spoken, and also at the words which had been spoken by his son Lamoni, therefore he was desirous to learn them.
Lamoni’s father, who was “king over all the land,” (Alma 20:8) was angry with Lamoni for failing to attend a feast he had recently held for his sons. He became more angry when he saw Lamoni traveling with Ammon, a Nephite, and learned that Lamoni planned to help deliver Ammon’s brothers and friends from prison. Following a sword fight in which Ammon prevailed, Lamoni’s father offered Ammon anything he wanted, up to half of his kingdom. Ammon asked for only two things:
- That his fellow missionaries be released from prison.
- That Lamoni be granted independence from the rest of the kingdom.
The king was shocked at these two requests. Why had Ammon asked nothing for himself? Why had he showed such love toward Lamoni? He was so impressed that he not only agreed to grant both requests but also asked Ammon to come teach him. He recognized that there was something motivating Ammon’s actions, something which he didn’t understand but which he wanted to learn more about.
Many years ago, a friend of mine had an experience which changed her life. She had been meeting with the missionaries for a number of months. She liked their message but had many questions and doubts and couldn’t decide whether to join the church. One day, three missionaries came to her home. One of them was struggling and was not teaching very effectively. The other two missionaries showed no sign of impatience with him. She watched as they supported him and showed genuine love for him. They made it clear through their actions that helping him be successful was a priority for them, more important than teaching a “perfect” lesson. After they left her home, she said to her daughter, “I’m going to join that church.” Their example of Christlike love was more impactful than any of their words.
Today, I will remember that the way I teach is at least as important as what I say. I will be patient with the people around me, knowing that the love I show to others may be the most important lesson I teach.