In Mosiah 2, it says, in a rather long sentence:
I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with anotherâ€” I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to anotherâ€”I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments…
This scripture is classically discussed as an example of God’s amazing Grace. Here Benjamin is not saying that we have no value, and thus are unprofitable to God, but rather that we are so valuable that he gives us more than we could possibly ever give in return.
What I thought about this time, as I read it tonight, which had not occurred to me before was that this is basically saying if we thanked and praised and served God with our whole souls, We still wouldn’t be any better of than if we had just kept the commandments. (I’ll avoid my own threadjack of what it means to “keep the commandments” for now).
It is interesting to contrast this view with that of Amaleki, who game the plates to Benjamin. Amaleki wrote:
Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.
It is interesting to see a contrast in opinions between the two prophetic leaders, and one almost wonders if perhaps the latter is a soft course change of the former.
Of course, I’m a big fan of the concept of giving one’s will to God, so not sure what this means. Perhaps it just means that my second to last companion on my mission was right, and it’s a-ok to relax and have fun. (this was a big revelation to me at the time, as a new convert)
What do you think? When Benjamin is saying “All” you need to do is keep the commandments, is it that cut and dried, or are “the commandments” nebulous enough to mean giving our whole soul?