Monday, July 11, 2016

the ultimate Givers

I'm heading up to Girls' Camp this morning, but before I go, I want to share a little bit from Elder Renlund's talk from last general conference, "That I Might Draw All Men Unto Me." This was a talk that I don't remember well from conference, but when I read it for my Sunday School lesson last week, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

He opens with some advice he was given by Elder Wilford W. Anderson, who told him, "The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement."

Now, there are lots of places where this concept can be applied, but Elder Renlund gives it spiritual application when he says, "Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are the ultimate Givers. The more we distance ourselves from Them, the more entitled we feel. We begin to think that we deserve grace and are owed blessings. We are more prone to look around, identify inequalities, and feel aggrieved--even offended--by the unfairness we perceive. While the unfairness can range from trivial to gut-wrenching, when we are distant from God, even small inequities loom large. We feel that God has an obligation to fix things--and fix them right now!"

So true, right? I think we can agree that drawing closer to God would give us a better perspective on the seeming unfairness of life. Elder Renlund says, "The closer we are to Jesus Christ in the thoughts and intents of our hearts, the more we appreciate His innocent suffering, the more grateful we are for grace and forgiveness, and the more we want to repent and become like Him. Our absolute distance from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is important, but the direction we are heading is even more crucial."

So how do we do it? How do we come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? Elder Renlund submits that one way is through the ordinance of the sacrament. Part of the LDS worship services on Sunday include partaking of the sacrament (bread and water that are blessed by the priesthood to represent Christ's body and blood). Partaking of the sacrament renews the covenants we made at baptism to always remember Him and to take His name upon us. It is the most important thing we do at church on Sunday.

Elder Renlund says, "To draw closer to the Savior, we must increase our faith in Him, make and keep covenants, and have the Holy Ghost with us. We must also act in faith, responding to the spiritual direction we receive. All of these elements come together in the sacrament. Indeed, the best way I know of to draw closer to God is to prepare conscientiously and partake worthily of the sacrament each week."

He continues, "The sacrament truly helps us know our Savior. It also reminds us of His innocent suffering. If life were truly fair, you and I would never be resurrected; you and I would never be able to stand clean before God. . . because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, there will be no unfairness. Our present circumstances may not change, but through God's compassion, kindness, and love, we will receive more than we deserve, more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for."

Elder Renlund promises that as we give a greater effort to our participation in the sacrament, our "natural tendencies to childish whining, disgruntled entitlement, and derisive skepticism will dissipate" and be replaced by "feelings of greater love and gratitude for Heavenly Father's gift of His Son."

Greater love and gratitude for Jesus Christ is something this world could use right now, don't you think? After reading this talk, I have made a better effort to participate in the sacrament more fully. I can tell you that it has made a difference in my perspective, in my peace, and in my heart.

Read, watch, or listen to the entire talk here.

1 comment:

  1. I mean, no way one can ever pick a sole favorite! But boy is Elder Renlund a keeper :)
    Hope camp went well!


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