Laurie's Sacrament Meeting Talk August 8, 2010
Some weeks are better than others. There are times when I feel really in tune with the Spirit, and I feel like I’m on the right track. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m serving others. I’m doing missionary work. I’m doing my best to magnify my calling. Then there are those other weeks when I just can’t cope. I come home from work, sit in my chair, put my feet up, and refuse to budge.
I’m not sure why some days and weeks are better than others. I don’t know what makes the difference in my attitude. I do know that when I’m serving the Lord and those around me, I feel better. I think it is all about commitment. How committed am I to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
In the March, 1983, Ensign, President Marion G. Romney talked about commitment and dedication. Speaking about the plan of salvation, he said,
“There is nothing under the heavens of so much importance to you or to me. It is necessary that we are committed to so living as to benefit from this great plan which was devised in the heavens from the beginning for the redemption of the human race and for their salvation and exaltation in the presence of God. Every one of us should make and live up to the required commitment. Regardless of the nature of our daily occupations, we must understand and keep the spirit of and comply with the plan of salvation. We can also affect for good those with whom we serve and otherwise come in contact, to help them find the truth.”
President Romney talked about how Jesus Christ made a total commitment to the will of the Father. He familiarized Himself with the will of Heavenly Father and then communed with Father in prayer. He did that not only to listen to Father’s will, but to gain strength from Father to do His will. He always obeyed Father’s will, even when it was not easy or comfortable.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf told a story in the April, 2009, conference about a plane that went down because of a $.20 light bulb. The indicator light for the nose gear failed to light. The pilots became so preoccupied with trying to figure out what was wrong that they failed to realize the plane was descending toward a swamp below until it was too late and over 100 people were killed. The nose gear was in the proper position, and the plane was in perfect mechanical condition except for a $.20 light bulb. The light bulb didn’t cause the accident, but the crew was focused on something that really didn’t matter instead of focusing on what mattered the most.
Am I focused on the things that matter most? Am I serving the Lord and others around me, or am I putting too much time and energy trying to figure out whether the Bachelorette will pick Roberto or Chris? Or who will win The Next Food Network Star? President Uchtdorf asks what excuses we cling to that keep us from being the kind of husband, father, son, and priesthood holder we should be (and I would add wife, mother, daughter, and sister in Zion) that we should be. Am I getting distracted from my duties? If so, what is hindering me from magnifying my calling? We need balance in life. We need to focus on the things that really matter—the gospel, family, friends, ward members, and others around us. President Uchtdorf reminds us that we cannot and must not allow ourselves to get distracted from our sacred duty. We can’t lose focus on the things that matter most.
In the April, 1996, conference, Elder W. Mack Lawrence of the Seventy said that when he asks stake presidents what their biggest challenges are, they tell him that it is the Saints’ lack of commitment and conversion so they will keep covenants and fulfill callings. We hear the word of God, but we’re not so great with the follow through. Elder Lawrence says that commitment is an outgrowth of conversion to the gospel. Am I truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
3 Nephi 27:27 says, in part:
“Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”
Presiding Bishop H. David Burton in a CES Fireside in November, 2008, suggests that what manner of men and women we will be will depend on our devotion and assistance in moving Christ’s kingdom forward. He says that self-discipline is required, along with devotion. He talks about renewing our enthusiasm and that we must never stand still in good works until the Master appears. He also talks about focusing on the things that are essential and not losing sight of our goals. And that when we fail to focus on the right things, it is difficult to be the manner of men and women we want to be.
So how am I doing with my goals? Am I on the right track? Bishop Johnston asked us in ward conference to spend 48 minutes a day doing service. Have I done that? If not, how much time have I wasted? Have I wasted more than 48 minutes a day? I’m going to say yes on any given day. I’m going to say on any given day I’ve wasted more than 48 minutes.
My grandfather used to say, “Take a little, and leave a little.” In other words, if you get some pleasure out of something, give something back. I wrote a whole blog post about that concept recently. Basically, the idea is to remember to appreciate life around us, never take it for granted, and to give something back. We all are so blessed! We have so much to be thankful for! Is 48 minutes per day too much to ask in return for those blessings? Flowers and rainbows ought to at least be worth 48 minutes per day all by themselves!
Self-evaluation is good, and it is necessary. But it’s easy to get discouraged when we do a little self-evaluation. It is also much too easy to say, “Well, I’m never going to be the kind of person I want to be, so I’ll settle for mediocrity.” But nothing is impossible with Heavenly Father’s help. No mountain is too high to climb, and no ocean too large to cross with His help.
Doctrine & Covenants 84:88 says:
“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”
I have felt the Spirit in my heart. I have felt angels round about me. He has borne my burdens and made my load lighter. Knowing that, I can’t give up—ever. I must strive to be all that He wants me to be, even if at times it seems like an insurmountable task. I must strive to be a better me. I must, as Bishop Burton talked about, renew that enthusiasm for the gospel. It’s always fun for me to watch new converts after they are baptized. Many of you will remember Steve Goodman who used to live in our ward. Remember what he was like after he was baptized? Remember how he just seemed to soak up the gospel? Do you remember how much enthusiasm he had towards the gospel? Do you remember the quiet service that he gave? I wanted to bottle that enthusiasm and put it in my pantry for a rainy day.
The answer for me is simple. I must be “reconverted” to the gospel so that I can again have that wonderful enthusiasm. I need to make sure that I have total conversion to the gospel so that I will continue to grow, to magnify my calling, and to serve those around me. In order to do that, I need to spend more time studying the scriptures, and I need to spend more time in prayer that goes beyond the ceiling so that like Jesus, I’ll gain the strength to do the will of the Father.
It is my prayer this day that we will all recommit ourselves to the gospel of Jesus Christ, to doing His work, and to obeying the will of Heavenly Father.
This I say in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.