Since the April 2017 General Conference, I have been pondering how to ponder. President Nelson asked us to study and ponder “The Living Christ”. President Monson asked us to study and ponder The Book of Mormon. I also gave myself the same challenge President Nelson gave himself to read, study and ponder the references on Jesus Christ as outlined in the Topical Guide. It would seem I had a lot of pondering to do. I decided I had better figure out how to do it.
What is pondering, exactly? Is it just thinking about what we read? Do we have to think about something for a certain length of time? How long is not long enough? How in-depth does our thinking have to be? Do we have to revisit our thoughts continuously throughout the day? Do we have to understand what we are studying? Do we have to figure out how we can apply what we are studying to ourselves?
As I pondered “pondering” I realized I was pondering! For me, pondering involves doing just what I just what I was doing….asking questions! I started asking-pondering everything I was studying about and found it was great fun! In fact, pondering may be my new favorite hobby!
Here’s an example of question-pondering:
From the Topical Guide reference on Jesus Christ:
Mark 6:3 (Jesus Christ, brothers and sisters of…)
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
- Is being a carpenter, and the son of a carpenter significant or symbolic?
- What was it like when Jesus learned carpentry from Joseph? Did Joseph (or Jesus) know that He actually made the wood they were working with? Did Jesus already know how to make everything?
- How did Jesus feel about his profession? Did He sell His items? If so, what kinds of prices did He set? Fair? Super inexpensive? Free? Did He love working with wood? What must His creations have been like?
- What was it like being raised and taught by Mary? and Joseph? What was it like raising Jesus?
- Was His brother, James, the same as the author “James” in the Bible? And was Juda – Jude?
- How big was his family? It must have been at least 9, if these brothers listed were His only brothers, and He had only 2 “sisters”. That’s a big family! Did they have family home evening? What was it like reading the scriptures as a family, when Jesus actually “wrote”, or revealed, what they were reading….thousands of years prior?! Did they realize this?
- Who was offended at him? Were his siblings? Why? What was it like to have a literally “perfect” sibling? What was it like to have a “perfect” child?
It was questions like these that would keep me busy pondering all day! This was not just enlightening, but it was (is) fun! I would call friends and ask them their thoughts. I asked my husband and kids for their ideas. I cross-referenced. I prayed. I studied. In short….I pondered!
Now, every morning when my alarm goes off, I get excited to open my eyes and look on my phone for the next scripture reference that I will be pondering that day. Then, as I get ready for the day, I also think of ideas or verses in the Book of Mormon that support the topic. That way, I am pondering the Book of Mormon also, as President Monson asked. The blessings have been innumerable. They are real and I’m so grateful for them!
I am learning so much! I feel closer to the Spirit. I feel an excitement about the gospel of Jesus Christ and my testimony of Him strengthens daily. I want to keep pondering the scriptures and the life and mission of Jesus Christ every day until my days are spent. It will literally be “time” well spent! This new pattern of study will, I hope, become a habit…which will, I hope, help me to become more like Him of whom I’m studying.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
Thank you President Nelson and President Monson for your invitations to ponder!
- Topical Guide Study of Jesus Christ | A Shareable Document
- I Am Not Enough.