Mike and I were in the temple last week and I heard something that I wanted to understand better. In seeking more knowledge, I read Elder Michael T. Ringwood's talk from conference entitled, "Truly Good and Without Guile." I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
Elder Ringwood teaches that true disciples of Jesus Christ are motivated to serve and do right for right's sake. He says, "In a world where praise, position, power, accolades, and authority are sought on every side, I honor those wonderful and blessed souls who are truly good and without guile, those who are motivated by a love of God and their neighbors."
What is guile? It is "deceitful cunning". So to be without guile, I think, is to have the right motivations. It is to be pure in our intent and righteous in our actions. People who are truly good and without guile find ways to consistently lift and serve, not to earn title or authority, but because they love God and Jesus Christ.
Elder Ringwood told a great story from his time as a missionary in Korea many years ago. He was transferred to a new area with a new companion. This new companion had a poor reputation in the mission. He had never been in a leadership position, and despite having been in the country for some time, his knowledge of the Korean language was not very good. But as Elder Ringwood began to serve with him, he noticed that this missionary was extremely obedient. He followed every mission rule with exactness. He studied his Korean diligently every day, even though it was particularly difficult for him. Elder Ringwood began to see that this young missionary's reputation was not earned and he wanted to right this wrong. When he spoke to his mission president about it, his president wisely said, "Heavenly Father knows this young man is a successful missionary, and so do I. And now you know too, so who else really matters?"
Elder Ringwood says, "Today there are some who would have us believe our search for relevance can be satisfied only by obtaining position and power. Yet, thankfully, there are many who are uninfluenced by this perspective. They find relevance in seeking to be truly good and without guile. I have found them in all walks of life and in many faith traditions."
I think the video above illustrates this all so well. In the beginning, not all of the men who were asked to serve were able to do it with the right attitude. But as Elder Ringwood encouraged in his talk, "The desires of our hearts can be transformed and our motives can be educated and refined." We can become more like those truly good servants of Jesus Christ. We can seek to serve because of our love for Him. Our hearts can be changed just like the men who helped lift their neighbor.
Read, watch, or listen to the full talk here.