Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sacrament Meeting Talk

In March I was called as the Secretary in my ward's Relief Society Presidency. Not long after receiving that calling we were asked by a member of the Bishopric if we would be willing to speak in Sacrament Meeting after General Conference. We were just asked to prayfully listen to General Conference with our ward in mind of what we should speak on. I think that there is a litlte missing from this but this was the most complete copy that I could find in my e-mail. 

This past week I have so many thoughts running through my head on what to talk about. That along with this, this being completely out of my comfort zone makes it for an overwhelming experience. I pray that my thoughts and ideas have come together so that they are able to teach and invite the spirit.
There has been a country song lately that has stuck with me, the words go, “We all want what we ain’t got, our favorite doors are always locked. On a higher hill with a taller top, we all want what we ain’t got. We ain’t happy where we are, there’s greener grass in the neighbors yard. A bigger house and a faster car, we ain’t happy where we are. All I want is what I had, I’d trade it all just to get her back. She’s moving on, but I guess I’m not, Yeah, we all want what we ain’t got. We all wish it didn’t hurt, when you try your best and it doesn’t work. And goodbyes such a painful word, we all wish it didn’t hurt. Yeah I wanted the world until my whole world stopped, I guess we all what we ain’t got.” When I first heard this song I imagined it had a certain meaning , but recently I watched the music video  and found a completely different one. At the beginning of the video several people are shown and they look to be very normal, just like you and me, by the end of the song one of the men that had been standing it shows he is wearing prison clothing, one of the woman took off a wig to reveal that she was bald from cancer, another it pulled back to show that she is sitting in a wheelchair.
I mentioned that each of the people in the video looked normal, normal like you and I. After seeing their struggles, their hardships it is even more true. We have been taught that “our purpose in coming here (to Earth) is to be tested, tried, and stretched. That stretching comes in as many forms as there are individuals experiencing it.
In the 2002 April General Conference, Elder Holland spoke of the other prodigal son, he said, ““As he approaches the house, he hears the sounds of music and laughter. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And the servant said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And the older brother was angry, and would not go in; therefore his father came out, and intreated him. You know the conversation they then had. Surely, for this father, the pain over a wayward child who had run from home and walled with swine is now compounded with the realization that this older, wiser brother, the younger boy’s childhood hero as older brothers always are, is angry that his brother has come home. No I correct myself. This son is not so much angry that the other has come home as he is angry that his parents are so happy about it.
He has yet to come to the compassion and mercy, the charitable breadth of vision to see that this is not a rival returning. Certainly this younger brother has been a prisoner- a prisoner of sin, stupidity, and a pigsty. But the older brother lives in some confinement, too. He has, as yet, been unable to break out of the prison of himself. He is up to his chin in water, but he remains thirsty nevertheless. One who has heretofore presumably been very happy with his life and content with his good fortune suddenly feels very unhappy simply because another has had some good fortune as well. “
The elder son was jealous, he felt that because younger son had succeed he must have failed. All too often we Satan tells us that “a gift given to another somehow diminishes the blessings we have received; if God is smiling on another, then He surely must somehow be frowning on us; if others grow in our sight, we must therefore be smaller; we need to be more handsome or more wealthy, more applauded or more admired.”
Elder Dale G. Renlund told of a young man named Curtis who was called to serve a mission. He was a great missionary, he was focused and worked hard. During his mission he was assigned a companion who was immature and not enthusiastic about getting the work done. One day while they were out tracting, Curtis looked back to see that his companion was not riding his bike but was walking it instead. Curtis was frustrated and silently said a prayer to the Lord expressing those frustrations, that because of his companions laziness they were not going to accomplish any of the work. He felt an impression as if God were saying, “You know, Curtis, compared to me, the two of you aren’t all that different.”
We are not very different when compared to the Lord but when we are in the midst of those stretching moments it can often feel like we are quite different from those around us. In my junior year of high school my dad and I were helping a family move, while helping with the cleaning my dad fell down a flight of stairs suffering brain injury. At that time I felt very different from every other Junior with the suffering and trials that came, while it seemed to me that most of the other students were wondering what they were going to do for the weekend I was asking things like “is my dad going to live, if he does live will he ever be the dad that I once knew?” While there were those that offered to help and support I felt that they could never understand nor know how to offer support as it wasn’t something that they had ever suffered. As Sister Stephens said, “I don’t completely understand your challenges. But through my personal tests and trials- the ones that have brought me to my knees- I have become well acquainted with the One who does understand, He who was acquainted with grief, who experienced all and understands all. Our opportunity as covenant-keeping daughters (and sons) of God is not just to learn from our own challenges; it is to unite in empathy and compassion as we support other members of the family of God in their struggles as have covenanted to do. When we do so, we also come to understand and trust that the Savior knows the difficulties of the way and can guide us through whatever sorrows and disappointments may come. He is true charity, and His love endureth forever in his part through us as we follow him.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend with my Mom her Stake Relief Society Woman’s Conference, much like our stake held a month or so ago. There was a Sister who was giving a talk about beauty, she spoke of how today’s society tries to tear people down, how we are “in a world that constantly compares people, ranking them as more or less intelligent, more or less attractive, more or less successful.” We have a loving father that “loves each of us-insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn’t measure our talents or our looks; He doesn’t measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other.”
We have each been sent here with different challenges or struggles and although we may not understand what you are going through, there is one person that does understand and that is Christ. Through him we “can and must be an important part of His giving comfort to those who need comfort.” We need to be the cheering squad for the family of God, as they accomplish things and especially as they struggle.
Returning to the prodigal son the elder son felt it was a rival returning, but as Elder Holland has said, “we are not racing against each other.” We each have our own light, “a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” “There is something about a candle that makes it more spiritual than physical. A physical substance, when spread, becomes thin. Spirituality, when spread, expands and grows. When you use something physical, it diminishes. The more money you spend, the less you have; the more gasoline you use, the more empty your tank becomes; the more food you eat, the more you need to restock your pantry. But spiritual things increase with use. If I use my wisdom to teach, the students learn, and I come out wiser for it; if I share my love with another, I become more loving, not less. When you give a spiritual gift, the recipient gains, and you lose nothing. This is the spiritual property that candles share. When you use one candle to light another, the original candle remains bright. Its light is not diminished by being shared; on the contrary, the two candles together enhance each others brightness and increase light. We sometimes worry that we will stretch ourselves too thin. In matters of spirit, this is never the case. The more goodness we spread, the more goodness we have. Keep lighting your candle. There is an endless supply of light in your soul. You will never run out of goodness.
As Sister Stephens said we may not all be suffering from the same stretching opportunities personally but we are through those around us. I pray that we are willing to let our lights shine and “mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.

No comments:

Post a Comment