When I was younger I used to think about ways in which I could be a hero. Protecting friends or family from a vicious animal, thwarting a criminal or heroically saving someone’s life through some act of courage & bravery.
I thought, the way to make a meaningful contribution to others was by some big, dramatic act. Through my bravery I would prove my worth to others and my valiance in serving God. I was reminded of this when I listened to Elder Cooks talk in a recent LDS Priesthood session of Conference.
Elder Quentin L. Cook:
Story of Sweetwater Rescue- Elder Cook’s great grandfather David Patten Kimball was involved in saving lives of members of the Martin & Willie Handcart companies.
“At great personal sacrifice, David and his associates helped carry many of the pioneers across the freezing, ice-filled Sweetwater. This true account greatly impressed me. I wanted to prove my devotion to the Lord through some dramatic act. Their acts of bravery were specifically to follow the prophet Brigham Young & by so doing express their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I wanted to do something dramatic because I was young and immature, and my understanding about what our Father in Heaven expects of us was immature. There is nothing wrong with being a hero to others, but it is seldom a single act courage that defines who we are. It is the development of character, over time, being obedient to both the small things & the big things if required that proves our devotion to the Lord.
We learn from the scriptures that out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
Story of Naaman: Naaman was captain of the Syrian hosts and he was a leper. Naaman cam with his chariot and horses to the house of Elisha, who sent a messenger to instruct Naaman, “go and wash in the Jordan seven
(7 is often a symbolic number indicating completeness) times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee”
Naaman was offended and “went away in a rage”. One of Naaman’s servants said “if the prophet had bid thee to do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?” Some “great thing” in this instance was extraordinarily simple and easy to do. Naaman repented, followed the prophet, washed and was healed. What did Naaman sacrifice? Pride.
“And the people spake against God, and against Moses. … “And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.“Therefore the people came to Moses. … And Moses prayed for the people.“And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live” (Num. 21:5-8) Did they look, or did they perish?
What does the Lord ask us to sacrifice?
Broken Heart & Contrite Spirit-
Resources- Tithing and care for the poor
Time- service to others, service in callings and home teaching etc
The natural man- Submit our will to His, just as the Savior submitted His will to the Father.
Psalms 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken & contrite heart”
3 Nephi 9:19-20 “And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost”.
The Lord’s people must give their hearts to God. What does this mean?
-Submit our will to the will of the Father (as Christ submitted)
Actual acts of submission may be something dramatic like the Sweetwater
Rescue, but more likely it will be something simple.
-Deep Gratitude for the Atonement of the Savior
-Repentance- a broken heart & contrite spirit is a precondition of repentance
-Being a true Disciple
Discipleship: Pres. James E. Faust
Follow the Savior in all things
1. Jesus went about doing good. We can all do something good every day if we look for opportunities.
2. Jesus was the Good Shepherd. We can seek out the lonely or afflicted, those who are less active or may need additional support in coming unto the Savior. We can care for and befriend them. (H.T.)
3. Jesus had compassion on many. We too can have & show compassion (H.T)
4. Jesus bore witness of His divine mission and His Father’s great work. We can stand as a witness at all times.
5. Jesus invited the little children to come unto him. Our children need our attention and love as well as our care.
Pres. James E. Faust- “Many think that the price of discipleship is too costly and too burdensome. For some, it involves giving up too much. But the cross is not as heavy as it appears to be. Through obedience we acquire much greater strength to carry it.” “Discipleship brings purpose to our lives”.
We will be judged by the desires of our hearts. If our hearts are set on being a true disciple of Jesus Christ and we are willing to offer to the Lord, all that we possess and are, our hearts will be broken and our spirits contrite. We will truly understand our relationship to deity and what we must do to gain His acceptance.