|A Three Word Formula for Success!|
Ever since I heard Hugh Nibley's comment that there are only two things we really can do on earth: REPENT and FORGIVE, I've made those verbs two of the three MISSION STATEMENTS of my personal creed. The third verb: CONTRIBUTE comes from President Marion G. Romney who taught that Service is the price you pay for the space you occupy on the earth. He also taught that service is the very content of the Building Blocks used to build your mansion on high*.
CHANGE by any other name is Repentance.
I have always enjoyed the comparison between Joseph Smith and his once close friend Oliver Cowdrey. Joseph wrote that Oliver generally considered himself to be nearly perfect, and marred by the unpleasant experiences of life. "I, on the other hand," he continued, "am a rough stone hurtling down the mountain. Every obstacle I come in contact with knocks off another of my many rough edges and makes me a smoother shaft in the quiver of the Almighty."
Change is best when it grows from within rather than imposed from without . In Brazil, I wrote in my journal that, "The 'Call to Repentance' is like the Call to Supper to nourish yourself with a change that does everybody good, especially you. The result is always rejuvinating. See TMB post: The Parable of the Bicycle ATONEMENT Change is the part of "The Plan" that involves Do Overs until we get it right! Elder Dallin H. Oakes told a General Conference audience that, "most sin is like specks of dirt that get washed away in the laundry." Remember, PERFECT doesn't mean flawless. Elder Russell M. Nelson taught that PERFECT means COMPLTE--as in completed ordinances, completed requirements for eternal life.
FORGIVE means to resolve differences, unburden yourself (and others) of the friction between you and another and just "let it go!" It means JUDGE NOT THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED. Mother Teresa, the inspiring nun of Calcutta said, "I don't know how people can judge others. It leaves so little time to love them." That is the spirit behind the D&C commandment: "I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but unto you it is required to forgive all men." Grudges should not be part of your life because they only hurt you--rarely the person against whom the grudge is being held.
CONTRIBUTE means the fulfillment of President Kimball's teaching that, "We pray to the Lord for help, but the answer usually comes from another.
Plan from now on to be a prayer answerer! One young mother Rosie and I know well often bakes a dozen shredded apple pies and then prays to know who in her neighborhood "needs a little tangible encouragement." As they cool, she and her family pile into their van and make anonymous deliveries as inspired from above. What a great lesson to her children!
King Benjamin worked in the fields to sustain his body and gave his spare time to his kingdom and the Lord. It's a good balance that keeps us grounded. He changed, forgave and contributed.
NOTE: The late Sterling W. Sill advised forward thinking saints that they should come to church with a little talk for Sacrament Meeting, inspired, researched, and written fresh for that Sunday, just in case called upon. This is my "contribution" for this Sunday, just in case.
NOTE 1: Bishops used to call up folks from the congregation to fill time--but after a few fainting spells and the odd heart attack, it became official church policy not to do that any more. (Of course there's nothing stopping the Bishopric living on the edge to call a dozen faithful to prepare "just in case" for a two and a half minute contribution--with that done, the conducting officer could seek inspiration and call on four or five of the folks to come up and share--that would work. In fact we do that kind of thing every month in what is called Testimony meeting.
NOTE 2: A non-member author wrote about dropping in on an LDS service on the first Sunday of the Month and being a bit confused, "I wasn't sure who was in charge, there were officers on the stand, but members rose out of the audience on their own accord and spoke extemporaneously, often confessing their faith with tears. At first I thought the minister was sick and these valiant members were helping out by substituting for him to fill the time of the meeting. Afterward I asked around and was amazed to found that this congregation does this every month of the first Sunday--and so does every other Mormon ward and branch. If that's what they mean by a "Lay Ministry" I'm intrigued!"
NOTE 3: Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. -Mark Twain