My attention lately has been drawn to the metaphor of an open window. It has a lot to do with the book podcast that I was enjoying about a week ago. So, today, I want to look at three different ideas about open windows.
We quote this scripture at church a lot when we are having lessons on tithing. It makes sense — God promises to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing if we will give to His church the 10% that he commands.
I don’t know that I’ve ever stopped and wondered about what it really means to have the windows of heaven open so that blessings can pour out. It’s a pretty humbling thought! For giving back a small part of what God has given to us, we can count on a connection with heaven that will provide what we need as we need it. This doesn’t necessarily mean money, because sometimes we need comfort, guidance, or confidence even more!
It is so true that tithing isn’t about money. It’s a means of learning how obedience works in the kingdom of God. Since the basic principle of keeping the command is easy to measure, it’s a little easier to know when we have kept the commandment and can wait with confidence for the Lord to deliver in his perfect timing.
Sister Esplin made a beautiful point about the difference between mirrors and windows in her most recent conference address. It’s a beautiful story that points out that our focus is so important as we interact with people everyday.
If we interact with others and are most concerned with what they are thinking of us, or we try to help the way we would want to be helped, or if we are so self-absorbed that we cannot listen and understand the people around us, it is like we are talking to a mirror, and it will be a fruitless effort.
On the other hand, if we can put ourselves in the background and focus on connecting with and understanding the people in our lives, it is like we have opened a window from our heart to theirs. We can connect. We can sympathize and even empathize with problems in their lives. We can rejoice with them over happy events and successes. We can see much more clearly what we can do that will be helpful. We can make a difference.
Open window to God
This is the idea that is the most new to me. I guess I’ve thought about it in other ways, but not using this metaphor before.
Anyone who calls themselves a disciple of Christ needs to be working to become an open window back to Him. We fail if we are mirrors and just reflect back what someone else is already seeing. We fail if we are a closed window — we allow others to see through us, but they can’t hear or communicate well, and we can actually block their view if we get soiled in some way. The only true way to be effective is to be an open window.
How do we become open windows to God? I’m not sure I know all the answers, but I know that there are some basic answers that will get us on the right track:
- Pray. The purpose of prayer is never to change God’s mind. (Why would we want to change the mind of someone who knows everything and is working to put all things together for our best outcomes?) The purpose of prayer is to connect with God and to learn how to bend our will to his. It is to open us to and humble us so that we can accept what he has planned and follow his plan.
- Study scriptures. How can we serve a master or leader that we don’t know? We have been given the ancient scriptures and modern prophets and apostles so that we can understand who God is and what he wants. If God were not perfect, this could sound scary and oppressive. But, because God is perfectly loving and is constantly looking after our welfare, this is one of the most freeing ideas ever: learn what God wants and do it!
- Obey. God gave us laws and commandments to keep us safe and to give us a perfect guide to growing until we can become as close to being like Christ as is possible during our mortal existence.
- Love. Isn’t it interesting that, when the Savior was asked what was the greatest commandment ever given, he replied that the first and second commandments were all about love? Love God first, and your neighbor second. Then, he tells us that ALL of the laws God has ever given and ALL of the words ever spoken by prophets are based on love of God and fellowman.
May you find windows of blessing, windows of connection, and windows to God throughout your day today.