Sam’s quiet example taught me a lot about being faithful.
When you think about Book of Mormon heroes, Sam probably isn’t the first to come to mind. We talk about Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel all the time, but the middle child Sam isn’t nearly as famous (or infamous) as his brothers. Oddly enough, that is why I think Sam is so great! Even though he isn’t talked about as much as Nephi, he was still a spiritual giant. There’s a lot to learn from this guy that mostly kept quiet on his family trip to the promised land. Here are three things that I learned from Sam.
1. It’s OK to Be the Quiet One
We know a lot about Nephi because he wrote the first book in the Book of Mormon. We even know that Nephi preferred public speaking over writing (see 2 Nephi 33:1). With Sam, there isn’t much to go on. What isn’t said about Sam is just as telling as what is. There are many examples of when Laman and Lemuel grumbled and complained. So did the sons of Ishmael. Even Lehi and Sariah complained at least once. But we never hear of a single time when Sam complained! He simply and quietly did the Lord’s will in the background.
We might not need to travel in the desert with our family like Sam, but we probably have experienced someone else taking the spotlight. Nephi was Sam’s younger brother after all, but he gets all the fame.
Sometimes it is hard to be happy when others around us are succeeding. I used to be super jealous of my older brother. I thought that he had inherited all the charm and good looks left in the family, leaving me (the youngest) awkward looking and awkward in general! When your friend gets a perfect report card, or your sister makes the soccer team, it’s easy to look at their success and feel resentment. But that’s not what Sam did. Sam’s example helped me to realize that I don’t have to be in the spotlight to receive God’s approval.
2. Believing the Testimony of Others Is a Spiritual Gift
Sam could have easily felt jealous that his younger brother was seeing visions and journaling in golden plates while he was simply along for the trek through the wilderness. Rather than feel jealous of his brother’s spiritual experiences, Sam was humble enough to listen to and believe his brother’s visions (see 1 Nephi 2:17).
This ability to believe his brother is actually a spiritual gift, but it is one we don’t talk about that much. Some people get their testimony of Jesus Christ directly from the Spirit, and others (like Sam) get their testimony by listening to other people testify (see Doctrine and Covenants 46:13–14). Sam was blessed with the spiritual gift of believing his brother’s words. He didn’t demand to see the same vision or, like Laman and Lemuel, assume that God wouldn’t answer him (see 1 Nephi 15:9). He simply listened to Nephi and the Spirit and believed.
3. How You Serve Matters More than Where You Serve
Even though his calling was not as visible as his younger brother’s, Sam was faithful, and he was promised the exact same blessings as Nephi. “Blessed art thou,” Father Lehi said, “for thou shalt inherit the land like unto thy brother Nephi. And thy seed shall be numbered with his seed; and thou shalt be even like unto thy brother, and thy seed like unto his seed; and thou shalt be blessed in all thy days” (2 Nephi 4:11).
We all have unique experiences in life. Just because someone serves in a more visible calling or seems to have more exciting spiritual experiences doesn’t mean God loves that person more than He loves you. We will all be blessed according to our diligence in whatever trials and opportunities we are given. Sam might not have declared in scripture “I will go and do” (1 Nephi 3:7), but he went and did! So, whether you feel like a Nephi or a Sam, as long as you are faithful, you can receive the same eternal blessings.
Check out this article to learn about other lesser-known heroes from the Book of Mormon.