We need to be constantly reminded of the eternal reasons behind the things we are commanded to do. The basic gospel principles need to be part of our life's fabric, even if it means learning them over and over again. That doesn't mean that this process should be rote or boring. Rather, when we teach the foundational principles in our homes or in church, let the flame of enthusiasm for the gospel and the fire of testimony bring light, warmth, and joy to the hearts of those we teach.
From the newest ordained deacon to the most senior high priest, we all have lists of what we could and should do in our priesthood responsibilities. The what is important in our work, and we need to attend to it. But it is in the why of priesthood service that we discover the fire, passion, and power of the priesthood.
The what of priesthood service teaches us what to do. The why inspires our soul.
The what informs, but the why transforms.
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Why of Priesthood Service“, April 2012 General Conference
There were several things I learned or was reminded of with this and similar interviews:
- I learned that many less-active members have loved ones on their knees daily petitioning the Lord for help in rescuing their loved one.
- I learned that it is not all that easy or comfortable for a less-active member to just walk back into the Church. They need help. They need support. They need fellowship.
- I learned we have less-active members who are trying and willing to find the path back to activity.
- I learned that many less-active members will hold callings if asked.
- I learned that a less-active member deserves to be treated as an equal and be viewed as a son or daughter of a loving God.
Over the years I have wondered how this interview might have gone had I approached her as a less-active Church member. I leave you to be the judge.
Reactivation has always been an important part of the work of the Lord. While the rescue is a responsibility of every member, holders of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood have the responsibility to lead out in this work. After all, that is what priesthood service is all about--bringing all people to the exalting covenants; bringing peace, happiness, and self-worth.
From the Book of Mormon you will recall when Alma the Younger discovered that the Zoramites had fallen away from the Church, he organized a reactivation team to rescue these people. As they approached their assignment, Alma pleaded with the Lord with these words:
"O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
"Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee" (Alma 31:34-35; emphasis added).
The charge to rescue is based on one of the most fundamental doctrines of the Church.
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
"For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. ...
"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" (D&C 18:10-11, 15; emphasis added).
I have had the privilege of rescuing a few less-active members over my lifetime. Now when I help bring one back to Church activity, I don't visualize a single soul; I see six, seven, or more generations--thousands of souls. And then I think of the scripture: "Bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy" (D&C 18:15).
- Richard C. Edgley, “The Rescue for Real Growth“, April 2012 General Conference
Jesus provided our watchword: "Go, and do thou likewise." When we obey that declaration, we receive opportunities for joy seldom equaled and never surpassed. - Thomas S. Monson, “Your Jericho Road,” Liahona, September 1989
I have learned that those who engage in family history research and then perform the temple ordinance work for those whose names they have found will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessing.
Furthermore, the dead are anxiously waiting for the Latter-day Saints to search out their names and then go into the temples to officiate in their behalf, that they may be liberated from their prison house in the spirit world. All of us should find joy in this magnificent labor of love. - Howard W. Hunter, “A Temple-Motivated People,” Ensign, February 1995
We are promised great blessings in this life also, if we will study and live the word of the Lord. Here are just a few of the blessings we may receive:
1. Power to live righteously2. Power to overcome evil3. Power to change the heart and attitude4. Increase in hope and joy5. Increase in knowledge and understanding6. Increase in testimony
Jay E. Jensen, “Promises,” Friend, August 1995
May I counsel you that when you select causes to devote your time and talents and treasure to, be careful to select good causes. There are so many of these causes to which you can give yourself fully and freely and which will produce much joy and happiness for you and for those you serve. There are other causes, from time to time, which may seem more fashionable and which may produce the applause of the world, but these are usually more selfish in nature. These latter causes tend to arise out of what the scriptures call "the commandments of men" rather than the commandments of God. Such causes have some virtues and some usefulness, but they are not as important as those causes which grow out of keeping the commandments of God. - Spencer W. Kimball, “President Kimball Speaks Out on Service to Others,” New Era, March 1981
"Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you." ~Harold B. Lee, Ensign, Feb. 1974
God loves every one of his children--of that we are absolutely assured, we know it in our hearts--but God needs instruments of his love. He needs those who can carry his love and make it meaningful and personal in the lives of others. The shepherd's search for the lost sheep was a mission of grace and so was the joyful journey of the forgiving father when he ran to meet the penitent prodigal who had come to himself and had, with trepidation, started home. - Marion D. Hanks, “Gifts You Can’t Wrap,” New Era, December 1972
Submitted by: Barbara Jackson Thanks!
If you want to be happy and make others happy too, nourish your attitude of gratitude. It will brighten your day because you will be focusing on the positive things in your life. And your brightness and appreciation will brighten the people around you and make you a good role model for them to follow. So scatter that sunshine and brighten up!
This was submitted by Bruce Hiatt. Thanks Bruce.
“It’s a fine, heartening thing, is cheerfulness; and do we value it as highly as it deserves? There’s a flavor about it, like hot buttered toast on a cold day, eaten round a fire while people crack jokes.”--Barton W. Currie.