One of the many times I read about Nephi’s “building a ship” dilemma was just before we moved to Nauvoo, Illinois nearly five years ago. It was one of those scripture “Pair-A-Bowls” that has stayed with me. The other day, I read this story again and so I share my perspective with you.
The verb “build” is used often and in many different instances:
Build a house, build relationships, build a temple, build a business, build your testimony, build a team, build, build, build.
As my husband and I were reading this story together, we discussed how Nephi might not have seen a ship before since Jerusalem, his hometown was inland. So, how was he going to build something he might not have seen before? And if he had seen a ship, he certainly had not built one.
What things do we need and want to build that we might not have seen or experienced before? New parents often remark that their newborn did not come with instructions, yet they are eager to build strong family ties.
The answer to building anything tangible or not comes in Nephi’s recipe, 1 Nephi 17:51 when Nephi testifies to this doubting brothers with a rhetorical question:
“And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?”
What do you want to build in your life? My testimony is always “under construction.” I need to build it every day. Likewise, my relationship with my husband and kids needs to be built continually. I am also building a new business model. In all cases, I need the guidance of the Master Builder, the Savior Jesus Christ. He is the one who can build us individually along with the things-spiritual and temporal-in our lives.
Now I ask myself the question that Nephi asked his brothers, who, like Nephi, knew the answer:
“And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a _________________?”
The Lord can and will instruct us to build whatever we ask him in meekness and humility. He is the great builder of all.