From the Mission Field

The Lesson That Stuck

Is a “frying pan” keeping you from spiritual growth?
 frying pan

Photographs by Olga Kovalenko/iStock/Thinkstock and Prapess Wannapinij/iStock/Thinkstock

I love whole wheat pancakes. On my mission in Brazil, I bought a nice nonstick frying pan to cook them in. I also made sure that I had a plastic spatula so as not to scratch the pan.

About this same time, I received my first junior companion. One of the first things I did was show him my frying pan and plastic spatula, with specific instructions on how to use them. I didn’t mind him using them to fry an egg or something, but I didn’t want my pan ruined.

On our next preparation day, I heard my companion stirring something in the kitchen. I soon realized that he was frying an egg. I decided to peek in to see if he was following my instructions.

When I turned the corner, I just about had a heart attack. There he was, with the frying pan in one hand and a metal spoon in the other, trying to flip the egg. He was scraping and scratching, trying to get underneath the partially cooked egg, all the while destroying my frying pan.

Before I could yell, it hit me. It was an honest mistake. With help from above, I was able to calmly walk over to the drawer, pull out the spatula, and hand it to him, saying: “Here, use this. I think it will work better.” He thanked me and went on frying his egg.

Back in our room I realized that, as strange as it sounds, I had been “worshipping” that frying pan. For days, it had been more important to me than many other things, including my relationship with my new companion. It had been affecting the spirituality of our companionship. It had become my idol.

It can happen to any of us. How often do we put material things ahead of what really matters? It doesn’t have to be a big thing like a new motorcycle, car, job, or tech device. It could be a frying pan. These things really don’t matter and don’t have eternal consequences.

I’m so thankful that my Heavenly Father taught me an eternal truth through this small but powerful experience. I’ve come to better understand what the Lord meant when He said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3)—including the nonstick kind.

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