Ammon rejoices in the success the Lord has given to him and his friends, “…for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?” (1)
We tend to limit our own success, by leaving God out of the equation.
With the Creator and Savior of the Universe, we can do ALL things. But so many times, we bind ourselves by our own expectations. We do what we think we can accomplish, instead of reaching for the stars, with faith that God can get us there, if He’s our companion.
Don’t put limits on the amount of good God can do through you.
They have been instruments in God’s hands. Helped bring a people out of darkness and into light. Provided them a safety net through the gospel so they aren’t “driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.” (6)
Ammon lists their blessings, how they have been instruments in the hands of God to bring the Lamanites out of darkness. He rejoices in their great success in bringing thousands out of the “darkest abyss” and helping them “behold the marvelous light of God.” (3)
Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might; yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted.”Alma 26:5
At harvest time, grain is gathered into bundles called sheaves and placed in storehouses, sometimes called garners. Elder David A. Bednar, an apostle, shared a possible interpretation of the symbolism in this verse.
The sheaves in this analogy represent newly baptized members of the Church. The garners are the holy temples.” Honorably Hold a Name and Standing 2009
In holy temples, we make sacred covenants with God. Ammon goes on to talk about the strength of these converts against the storms and whirlwinds of Satan.
…they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.”Alma 26:6
We have strength as members when we unite.
After praising God, Ammon declares that if they had not come on their mission, “our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us, would still have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they would also have been strangers to God.” (9)
Hatred racks our soul and torments our spirit. It never brings peace. And how sad it would be to be labeled strangers to God.
Aaron rebukes him for boasting. “I fear thy joy doeth carry thee away unto boasting.” (10)
But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.”Alma 26:11-12
Trusting in God boosts our confidence, because when we rely on Him, we truly can do all things He asks of us. Self-limiting chains fall away.
Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.”Alma 26:16
Ammon had rebelled against the light earlier in his life. He knows what it feels like to be in darkness and have no part of God. That is why his soul is exuberant now. Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others and seeing their great transformation and change of heart reminds him of his own.
Who could have supposed that our God would have been so merciful as to have snatched us from our awful, sinful, and polluted state?”Alma 26:!7
He knows he deserved “an awful destruction” and “eternal despair.” (19)
But God does not give us what we deserve, thank goodness. Through His infinite merciful sacrifice, we can have ALL that He has.
Behold, he did not exercise his justice upon us, but in his great mercy hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls.”Alma 26:20
Do I treasure God’s mercy in my life?
Mysteries of God
Only the penitent can know the glory, majesty and mercy of God.
Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God.”Alma 26:22
When Ammon and his brethren decided to preach to the Lamanites, their own people “laughed us to scorn.” (23) They had hard-set limits and didn’t believe such a hardened, bloodthirsty people could change. They wanted to go to war against them and destroy them, instead.
But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.”Alma 26:26
In this day of chaos, confusion, and outright threats, what is my intent? Do my actions seek to lift and save others, or am I intent on putting those that don’t believe as me down in some manner?
We must desire to save those around us, not demean, belittle, chastise or judge them. When we love our fellowmen, God can bring great things to pass.
Love unlocks limits
God can soften hearts. And when we love Him and our fellowmen, there is no limit to the good we can do in this world.
I listened to a podcast the other day by Brooke Snow, titled Tell Me Who I Am. She talked about how little influence we have on others (like our children) when we tell them what to do. But if we tell them who they are (their best version of themselves), they stand a little taller and act a little better.
Don’t tell people what to do. Tell them who they are.
And now, behold, we have come and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked and spit upon, and mote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.”Alma 26:28-30
Ammon and the other missionaries truly loved those they served. And when the Lamanites were converted, they came to love deeply as well, for “they had rather sacrifice their lives than even to take the life of their enemy.” (32)
I need to work and pray to have this type of love, to see everyone’s eternal potential and not set limits on what God can do.
Ammon ends his speech by testifying of God’s love.
God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.”Alma 26:37
When we have this same faith in God and His mercy, we will not set limits on what He can do with us, as instruments in His hands.