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This weekend, our ward had a Father and Son’s Camp out. I drove myself and my three sons over 90 miles to our destination on a Friday afternoon. I had tried to get out of work early, but it didn’t work out that way and by the time we left my house it was already 6pm.
I was worried that there wouldn’t be any light left to set my tent up but didn’t worry too much, having faith that things would work out. It was dark and overcast at my house when we left and by the time we reach our destination, there was literally a column of sunlight gleaming down from between the clouds. Just as I had trusted would happen. It had shed enough light to set up the tent without difficulty.
There was already a group playing kickball, but I decided to just sit by my tent and relax while my three sons would squeal and cry over the red kick ball that I had brought. Besides, if I had played kickball it would have been completely unfair to the opposite team!
The fireside seemed to be exactly what I needed. It was, of course, about the Priesthood and service. There was a great lesson presented. In a nutshell, those successful people around us that were known to give generously had done so before the fact that there were successful.
They were also great leaders, but not for the reasons why you would think. They were kind and generous, which in turn had people gravitate towards them. Their genuine willingness to help and give their time, money and talents had brought them blessings of true happiness. True happiness is being in the service of your fellow men. The Priesthood brings happiness by its sole purpose of serving others.
This has had me pondering the whole weekend about the things I can do to help those around me.
I can be a more loving husband and patient father.
I can be more bold in bringing up the gospel in day to day situations.
My Ward Family
I can get over my habit to float to the side and stay unnoticed and make a better effort. I can find ways to serve them. I can try to take my callings to the next level.
The Blessings from service are evident as I had arranged to go visit a family today with my home teaching companion. I had received good news upon my visit that the father had received a great job offer, ending a period of worry. I was uplifted to hear about the blessings they had received through prayer, obedience and faith in Heavenly Fathers.
I am excited and filled with enthusiasm as this month, I am going to concentrate on service to my fellow men.
I believe that this book, There Is No Death, brought me closer to understanding the truths that my friend Mike touched upon when he began teaching parts of the Gospel. I believe this book softened my heart and also prepared me for the missionaries that I met three years later.
I remember after a few weeks after reading the book we were discussing it during lunch when it hit me; that all the things Mike had been teaching me were in fact true; that there was something more going on than just this life. It is a moment in my life that I will not forget. As I look back now, knowing what I knew, it was the spirit confirming what he was teaching and what was in this book as true.
Why I didn’t follow up on this? I guess I did not know what to do with this testimony at the time. I did not plant it and nourish it. (See Alma 32:28-43)
It did not fall on good ground, perhaps stony ground. (Matthew 13:3-8) I did not act on it. I’m thinking it was out of fear for change.
Tasting of the truth was exciting and I was eager to learn of all the great and wonderful things of the gospel. I often went way ahead of myself. In a way, I wasn’t ready. I wanted to have my friend personally teach me all he knew, but he insisted that I have the missionaries over.
I now realize why missionaries should be involved. They are set apart to spread the gospel. They are more prepared to answer questions that come up. They are divinely inspired and assisted to share their great message. I did not have the fundamentals that the missionaries teach. The important fundamentals like: Who we are, who Heavenly Father is, who the holy spirit is, and who Jesus Christ is – and why what he did was so important, the plan of salvation (the plan of happiness).
I see why things are taught in a certain order now and why it is said “concept upon concept, precept upon precept.” That used to annoy me when I didn’t receive all my answers, but now it makes perfect sense.
Last night, while leaving a restaurant I was carrying my youngest to our minivan while I walked past a beggar. He was sitting on the curb and looked up at me and said “Sir?”
In the past I would ignore these people as if they did not exist three out of four times. I am sorry to say that I did just that as I walked by. The fact that I ignored him was a reflex move.
As I ignored him I started to feel that I shouldn’t have. Was that the spirit prompting me?
As I walked closer to my minivan – I thought in my mind that I have to go back. I had read scripture on this and it is now ringing in my ear.
I put my little boy into his car seat, packed up and we started to drive away. As we drove I started to console with my wife:
“I should go back there and help him.”
She, who has exampled charity many times since I’ve met her, told me that if I felt I should, then I should.
My wife pulled back up to him and I rolled down the window and asked him if he’s hungry. He nodded his head yes.
I hopped out of the car and asked him to follow me in and I will buy him something. He didn’t want to.
“I can’t, I’m eight-sixed” he said.
I replied, “That’s OK, tell me what you want to eat and I’ll bring it to you.”
He put his head down and shook his head no.
“Can you just give me some money?”
“No” I said, “I don’t give money out but I will feed you if you are hungry.”
He said “nevermind.”
I asked him “are you sure?”
He nodded yes.
I went back into our minivan and then we drove off.
The scripture that I had read was of what Jesus Christ taught:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:34-40)
I am wondering, should I have given him money?
He was hungered and I offered to feed him. My reasoning behind not doing so is so he doesn’t use it for things that would not help him.
A few nights ago I took my family to a “Live Nativity Pageant” that one of the stakes here in town was presenting. It was free and open to the public and OUTDOORS! It was a very cold night, but staying huddled with my family kept us all warm.
The play looked very genuine and it seemed to draw a lot of people. The message it conveyed was a good one. It was about Christ and the purpose of Christmas. It told the story about Joseph and Mary, About the Three wise men and how they hid from Herod, Caesar, etc…
My favorite part was when the fog came rolling from off the top of the church building and people stood singing on top the building with a light shining on them. They looked as if they were angels in the clouds. The effects were impressive!
Afterwards, we enjoyed dinner at Denny’s (Kids ate free).
Throughout the New Testament Jesus tells many parables. But why speak in parables instead of speaking the message directly? The wisdom delivered in these parables seems otherwise impossible to convey.
In the New Testament of the Bible in Matthew Chapter 13, Jesus gives immense knowledge with the parables of the sower, the wheat and the tares, the grain of mustard seed, the leaven, the treasure hid in the field, the pearl of great price, and the net cast into the sea.
These parables seem to connect principle spiritual truths with the temporal world so we can relate to the importance of it all.
When Jesus was asked why he spoke in parables, he answered:
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (Matthew 13:11-13)
The knowledge is freely given to everyone, but only those who are seeking it will receive instructions on how to obtain it. These parables contain information about the Kingdom of God and what to do to obtain it.
Additionally, in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he says:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matthew 7:6)
My interpretation of this is to not share and give precious things, such as knowledge about Heavenly Father and his Kingdom, that would not be received well to where it would be mocked and may bring harm towards your way.
For the past week I have been carefully reading The Gospel According to St Matthew of the New Testament in the Bible. There are mounds of knowledge and information from this one book alone. I find comfort in knowing that the wisdom of Jesus Christ contained in this book has been available to many before me. In this post and those to follow I will occasionally write about what I have taken from the Gospel According to St Matthew.
There are many temporal things in the world that are sought after by men such as: money, houses, cars and fame. You see the shows on MTV: “Cribs” and “Pimp my ride.” The next generation of men and women as well as the generations before have been programmed to want such worldly things. I admit, I too have been influenced to want such things.
In the New Testament, Matthew Chapter 6 reads:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)
I have realized that before I seek after the riches of this world, I should seek the spiritual riches first. I should lay up my treasures in heaven. If I were a perfect person, I would not have any want for the temporal. I would not have any want for the things which are temporary. I would only seek the spiritual things, the things that would last forever.
In the New Testament, Matthew it reads:
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:24-33)
What I take from these verses are:
No man can both seek temporal riches (wealth) and spiritual riches (God) at the same time. It is wise to not worry about the every day needs of your temporary body. Heavenly Father knows our needs and will provide for our needs if we put him first.
An example is the Law of Tithing: Paying a full tithe which is 1/10th your increase. Even the concept of 1/10th your increase must be of divine origins-it is an easy number to discern! Move the decimal point 1 plays to the right. My belief is that tithe is necessary because:
- It helps the Church grow.
- It is a solemn act of consecration that proves your faith.
- It humbles us and allows us to remain meek and obedient in other commandments and covenants.
- It allows you to become more wise with your money; that you may do more with that 90% than you would have with the 100%.
- You will receive blessings invaluable and definitely valued greater than that 10% given.
- Your Heavenly Father has given us 100% of what we have, giving back a mere 10% is nothing in comparison.
As stated following in Doctrine and Covenants 130:
There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20-21)
This says that obedience is a two way street between ourselves and Heavenly Father. If we follow the commandments Heavenly Father has given, Heavenly Father has no choice but to give the blessings which were conditionally promised.
In the Old Testament, Malachi Chapter 3 and in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi Chapter 24 it states:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10, 3 Nephi 24:10)
Heavenly Father promises that if tithe is paid, he will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing.