(November 20, 2014)
Usually when I read this chapter, I think I focus on the parasitic nature of the Gaddianton Robbers, but this time my focus was more on the response of the Nephites. Particularly, I was impressed when I realized that they were able to recognize why they were saved. It would be easy enough to believe that the Nephites survived because of good planning (in gathering together and in storing food) or good tactics (in attacking their enemies at night or getting in front of the marching robbers when they began to retreat). But there was no discussion of that (at least in the record we have).
Instead, we have a grateful people who recognize that despite the worldly and temporal things that seemingly benefited them, ultimately their deliverance was from the Lord. This is important for us to realize in our temporal efforts, but it is even more vital for us to understand in our spiritual efforts. We may mistakenly believe that we are destined to be saved because of our good planning or our good tactics, but ultimately we are saved independent of ourselves. We are saved only through the Grace of Christ. This, of course, does not excuse our failure to plan and put forth our best spiritual efforts – but these efforts, absent the focus on the Savior – do nothing to bring us salvation.