In Mosiah chapter 2, King Benjamin is addressing his people. The great number that they were all traveled and gathered together to hear this. They pitched tents, each family being separate one from another. “And they also took of the firstlings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifice and burnt offerings according to the law of Moses” (verse 3). Think about it. These people were farmers. Herders. They had worked their whole life on their flock and that was what they had to show for themselves. And here they were being asked to sacrifice the very best of their possessions?
I think about the similarity of this scriptural situation to our current quarantined lifestyle. Not only is each family somewhat separate one from another, and listening to the voice of prophets and leaders, but the farming families left behind literally everything to come to this event. Surely they still had flocks at home, chores to be done, and lives to live. What about the secondlings, thirdlings, and fourthlings of their flocks? They still had to be taken care of, they were still worth something right?
As my own life has seemed to come to a halt, I realize that while I’ve had to sacrifice things that are important to me, I still have other flocks to tend to. Before everything was shut down, my whole focus was baseball. I was playing every day and recovering in my downtime. That was my firstling. And now, just like that, it’s gone. Sacrificed. Sure, I was worried about school, friends, and other opportunities, but those were kind of secondary while I tried to make a successful season.
These people of King Benjamin must’ve felt like they’ve lost everything, in a sense. They’ve left their homes and herds and sacrificed their firstlings for what, to come listen to a prophet? That’s all they’re left with? I know I kind of felt this way. My firstling was gone and at that point, the rest of my flock seemed almost pointless.
Well was that it then? No, after King Benjamin addressed his people, they went back home and right back to work. Sure that’d be nice for us, and if the world were to reopen today we’d have no problem going back to our normal lives. But remember, these people went back without their firstlings. If the world were to go back to normal today I’d still have a season! These people went back to work on and care for the rest of their flocks. They gave animals who never got the time of day more attention. They had to sacrifice what was a lot to them for the purpose of the Lord (remember the Lord does nothing except it be to benefit His children), but they took the words of their leader and went right back to work on the duties they had previously forsaken.