Man, something must be up with the ward I attend, because even though I've been going to the same ward for the last 3 years, the past 6 weeks have been..... very spiritually nourishing.
I'm not saying that until then, it wasn't wonderful, but I've never loved going to church
as much as I have during the past 6 weeks. It's weird. I'm not sure what exactly is going on, but even with kids screaming and such, sacrament meeting has been wonderful, as well as gospel doctrine and priesthood classes. Maybe it's me who's changing - not the ward. I don't know... Anyway...
Today was no different.
During sacrament meeting, a returned-missionary gave his report and beginning his talk, he said "I went for a year, came home because I needed to repent, I repented, then went back for another year." ... Wow. I was immediately interested in what he had to say due to his simple honesty. What a breath of fresh air in today's world.
Anyway, part of his talk concerned the belief that people can just "get by" in this religion, and expect to make it to heaven. He said something I'll never forget; something which I've believed for quite some time, yet haven't quite been able to put into words. He said:
"Do we really believe that we can make it to heaven by only giving 99% of ourselves to Christ?
Multiple places in scripture, the words "with all your might, mind, and strength" is listed. With a quick search
, I found that the combination of "might, mind, and strength" is found in scripture 10 times.
Christ has also stated
that his grace is sufficient after all we can do
. I don't think he'd say "all" if he meant "half-way". I also don't imagine that means "after we do a lot", or "after we try and try and try our best". I believe it means "after all we can do."
Claiming God requires 100% can be very misleading. Claming that he requires anything but 100%, however, would be flat-out wrong.
I give you an example which was used in gospel doctrine class today. One that brought out enough emotion in me to cause a couple of tears.
The Morley couple recently returned from their mission. They gave their homecoming speeches today, in fact. (along with two other returned-missionaries). I didn't think anything much of what they said, but rather just listened and let the Spirit teach. The real lesson, however, was given during gospel doctrine.
Sister Poulsen, a very dedicated sister of our ward, and apparently a good friend of the Morley's, told us some details regarding the circumstances leading to their mission.
She said that brother Morley had got off to a late start in life with his business, but had managed to keep his family healthy and safe. They weren't rich. They also had a modest house which had served them quite well.
When the Morleys decided that serving the Lord by going on a mission was the right thing to do in their life, they didn't question it. Brother Morley left his business in the hands of a good friend, they sold their house, and used the money from it to serve the Lord.
When they returned, sister Poulsen stated that they didn't have anywhere to live, and they didn't have much money, either. That didn't seem to worry them much, judging by their homecoming talks. This simply amazed me, as I *seriously* doubt I could have done the same. What faith and conviction they must have to literally "sell all they had in order to serve the Lord". Talk about serving with all their might, mind, and strength...
heh... I know it's bad to compare, but that kinda makes my "offerings" to the Lord seem very, very small.
Now, with that said, are we *required* to do such things to get to heaven? Am I required to sell my house and leave, not regarding the state of things when I return? I'm inclined to doubt it. However, I honestly and thoroughly believe that we are required to give 100% of ourselves to Christ in order to be exalted by Him - after all, it is Jesus Christ who makes salvation possible.
of our giving ourselves to Christ is completely personal, but the act of our giving 100% of ourselves is universal.
Whether it be nothing more than overcoming a life-long addiction and reaching the waters of baptism after a lifetime of struggle, or leading a life of service, giving all you can, or learning of Christ 5 years before you die, but serving him with all your might during that time.
Really, I guess it comes down to this: Giving 100% to Christ means keeping His commandments to the best of our knowledge and ability, and relying on the grace of Jesus Christ through repentance when we fall short.
Yup... I think that nails it.
Anyway... Very inspirational church today. Just thought I'd share what I learned.
I hope this spiritual recharging each Sunday doesn't stop. I *really* like it.