Sunday, February 12, 2006

My daughter Heather just spoke in Sacrament meeting.

The first time I was asked to give a talk, I said no. I was very firm but it did not matter; I was told I had to give a talk anyway. I was sick and I was upset and I really did not want to give a talk. When I finally gave the talk, I was scared and unhappy and it was painful, but when it was all over, everything was fine.

When I was asked to give this talk, I did not want to. But I knew I had to, and I knew that I could do it, so I finally forced myself to work on it, and now I am giving this talk to you.

Missionary work is like giving a talk in Church. The first time we are asked to do missionary work, almost everyone says no. Even if their lips say yes, they really do not want to do it. They feel a funny feeling in the pit of their stomach, they are unhappy underneath it all, and they wish they could just say “no” and do something else.

But, eventually they force themselves, or they should force themselves, to do something, and the more they do it, the easier it is and the better they feel about it.

They realize that it is possible to do missionary work, and that like giving a talk, most of the time everyone is happier as a result.

The keys to missionary work are the same as the keys to giving a talk.

First, you have to decide to give in and do it.

Second, you need to prepare to do it,

And third and finally, you have to actually do it.

My talk is about the things you can prepare to do, once you realize that you can do it and that while missionary work may seem hard and difficult, but that it isn’t as bad as it seems.

The first thing to do is to be humble. That doesn’t mean being timid or nervous, but it does mean not acting “holier-than-thou,” harsh, or judgmental. It means acting with God’s love, and doing what God wants. You should be doing missionary work because you love and care about other people, and you should do it the way God wants you to do it. Not just because you are asked to at church. It is kind of like being patient without being passive, or being forthright without being pushy.

The second thing is to realize that all missionary work consists of steps. You don’t just walk up to someone and baptize them. Missionary work isn’t grabbing people and forcing them to do anything.

Instead, missionary work consists of many small steps. Just like you would not do your laundry by tossing all the dirty clothes into the dryer, you shouldn’t start doing missionary work by skipping the steps.

Before you can share your testimony with anyone you must first have one. Before you can testify of the truth of the Book of Mormon or even the Bible you must have read it for yourself and pondered on the principles therein. Otherwise how can you answer the questions of those you would teach the gospel.

Next, you should live the gospel.

That is a big concept, but the part that applies to missionary work is that you need to live the parts of the gospel that have to do with being kind to others and loving them. Some of the strongest testimonies of the gospel that I have ever heard have come from inactive members of the church who have fallen away due to some trial in their lives with which they are struggling, but have never stopped trying to be kind to others and have maintained that Christ-like love of mankind.

True missionary work comes from loving others and is the kindest thing you can do. It is the attempt to aid another person by sharing the most precious thing you have.

If you start being kind to other people, loving them and caring for them, then sharing the gospel becomes as natural a part of your life as feeding them when they are hungry or listening to them when they are sad. As stated in D&C 64:34 “the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind”

If we do not put our heart into our task or are unwilling to prepare for missionary work we rob our friends of the chance to learn. We refuse to give a treasure that will last for all eternity. Just as true missionary work is the kindest thing you can do, grudging or false missionary work is among the cruelest.

But, by finding yourself in service and love for others, you increase the amount of love and peace you feel in your life. By doing missionary work, by caring for others, you will become happier and have more joy in your own life. You will find the things you need to be at peace and to be closer to Jesus Christ.

So, no matter how you feel about missionary work, if you take it one step at a time, you can do it, and share the love and joy that should be in your life and that God has for you.

It is a matter of starting, one step at a time. Reading your scriptures and praying. Being kind to others and paying attention to them. Caring for your friends and neighbors and those you meet so that you can both be an example to them and so that you can know when they need help.

Finally, it is a matter of sharing the gospel with them, a piece at a time, just as you would bring them food when they are hungry or give them a ride when their car breaks down. It is the process of letting the love of Christ work in your life to heal you and to heal others.

I leave you with my testimony of the importance of true missionary work. I leave you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Win was called in to cover an emergency at work. Jessica would have turned twenty today, but life goes on, even if we wish it would not.

Funny. Most people do the most of their blogging on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I do most of mine on the weekends, especially Sunday evening before I go to bed, but after everyone is quiet.

It is so quiet now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to Jessica!

(Mine didn't turn out okay. I should have said no.)