I’ve been pondering the phrase “easy to be entreated,” as in I must be easy to be entreated to fully fulfill my covenant and be filled with charity.
Easy to Be Entreated
I have a friend who is so easy to be entreated. I’ve been with her when people asked for her time, talents, and money. She stopped the car at an ATM to give the requested funds. She rescheduled another commitment to help the requestee. She jumped in with creative juices flowing to help a floundering project. She’s done similar things so many times, with a positive, let’s-do-it attitude, that I’ve really taken notice, especially since I’ve often been on the receiving end after entreating her for her time.
Because she’s easy to be entreated, she lifts others through her unique talents and skills. She helps them meet their obligations and needs and in being available to others, God blesses her covenant relationship with Him.
Our bishop is so easy to be entreated. I tell him our auxiliary’s concerns and ideas and he willingly helps to make all those good things happen. Many of the good things involve callings aka the sacrifice of his time. He never complains and always expresses eager willingness to make it happen.
“Easy to be entreated” looks like a river babbling over rocks with a burst of energy falling over an incline and continuing on its contented way.
It denotes organization. If you’re not organized with your life commitments, you’re not going to be available for any entreaties.
It denotes openness and friendliness. Asking for help is hard for most people to do anyway, and it’s easier to ask you if you appear friendly and open.
It denotes self-restraint. You have to have a listening ear to hear the entreaty. That means you’re really listening–not preparing a response or a criticism.
It denotes a Christlike attitude. Everyone who recognizes their sins entreats the Savior for forgiveness. He “denieth none that come unto him.”
Not Easy to Be Entreated
“Can you talk now?” someone asked me. Overwhelm exploded over me. I was in the middle of work with deadlines looming. I had another commitment on the burner waiting for me to finish work. All she wanted was for someone to simply listen and I couldn’t. I hadn’t planned my day with enough self-discipline to be available. Not only was I not easy to be entreated, I was not able to be entreated. We set another time to chat, but she’d already found someone else to help by the time I was finally available.
I think of Nabal in the Old Testament. David and his men had defended Nabal’s shepherds from marauders over a period of time. David and crew were hungry. David sent ten of his men who entreated Nabal for hospitality.
And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.
Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?
No. The answer was no, maybe even no way.
Nabal’s response angered David and his men. They prepared to destroy Nabal’s household.
But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them.
But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:
They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.
Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.
Abigail immediately gathered food for the army and, offering the food to David, entreated him to reconsider. His heart softened. Some of his men still clamored for revenge, but David accepted Abigail’s apology and food on behalf of Nabal’s household.Abigail approached Nabal to tell him what he’d done. But he’d thrown himself a huge party and she didn’t want to tell him while he was drunk. So she waited until the next morning to talk to him about David.
But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.
And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died.
His heart became a stone. This ending fascinates me. Is this the actualization of the “hard-hearted” adjective?
Nabal’s life apparently followed a similar theme. His name meant “churlish,” synonymous with rude, cantankerous, and discourteous. Abigail’s name meant “give joy and Father rejoiced.” Ironically, when Abigail “gave joy,” churlish Nabal’s heart died within him.
This is such a vivid image to me. Where am I on the entreaty spectrum? Do I act in wisdom and respect to the demands of others? Or am I hard and stony hearted to their entreaties? Do I hear entreaties at all?
“Not easy to be entreated” looks like a smelly, stagnant pond. Fresh flowing water eventually gets dammed off so nothing enters or leaves. It hoards everything from algae to mosquitos. It’s septic and festering.
It denotes a self-centered life. You may say you are willing to serve, but if your life and time centers on your wants, needs, commitments (all probably very good things), there’s no time or energy to hear or act on others’ entreaties.
It denotes walls. You resist others asking for anything. You obstruct the flow of others to barricade yourself from dealing with their neediness. You remove yourself from the river to live your own life according to your own dictates.
It denotes hypocrisy. You ignore or decline another’s entreaty, but must entreat the Lord for life and salvation.
Are We Not All Beggars?
King Benjamin held up the mirror for entreaty’s application. He recognized that we would be entreated by all kinds of entreaties. Sometimes we might feel like someone might not deserve our effort and we would not be entreated of them.
Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
Ultimately, I choose to be easy to be entreated like my friend and bishop or refusing to be entreated like Nabal. I’m grateful for examples of both entreated types to help me decide which type I want to be.