Throughout the scriptures are stories of weak men made strong. The story of Enoch, Moses, Nephi, David and countless others all give great examples of when the Lord was able to take what little we have, and make it something that changes the world.
This idea of taking something weak and turning it into exactly what the Lord needs to bring about His work has always inspired me. Being the weak person I am, I really like the idea of doing no work and all of a sudden becoming huge and incredibly talented and smart. Of course, in no way is that what happens. In all of the stories, there is a common thread between the individuals who are lifted above their capacities. That thread is humility.
The questions posed by President Uchtdorf in his October 2014 talk in Priesthood session provide us with a great template to go through in order for us to find, sacrifice, and strengthen the flaws we have that the Lord is willing to remove.
The first question is also the title of the talk. “Lord, is it I?” These four words are so powerful and succinct. They were asked to the savior by is 12 apostles when he told them that one of them would betray him. There are multiple valuable lessons to be learned here. All those apostles loved Christ so much, and had given up just about everything to follow him, so the first lesson I learn from this story is we can never get comfortable with our testimony. A friend of mine in seminary said it best when he said if we aren’t using it, we’re losing it.
The other lesson came as almost a reprimand to me. A couple people I come in contact with have struggled as of late with church attendance and enjoying the gospel. So I would constantly hear talks and think of them, and pretty much do exactly what Pres. Uchtdorf makes fun of. Now, of course, reading a talk and thinking of someone isn’t a bad thing, I have a great experience when I read a talk about the sacrament and atonement and felt like I should share it with a friend not of our faith. When I did, she was so grateful, and declared to me it was exactly what she needed. The problem I was having is that I wasn’t applying the talks to myself. I would hear a talk on enjoying church, then play on my phone throughout Sunday school, all the while being scornful of those in my life who would go home after sacrament. Matthew 7:3 and 5 are a great resource for people like me.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
Now what a mote and a beam in your eye means literally I have no idea, but the message is clear. Don’t go trying to solve other people’s problems before you’ve solved your own. Asking this introspective question and answering it honestly, and with the promptings of the spirit, will help the Lord be able to shine his grace on us, and help illuminate our own flaws in order for us to grow, and strengthen them.
The next question is “Where is my treasure?” in other words; what is of most value to us? Is it our nice shiny smart phone, our big fancy car, or other such worldly objects, or are we more focused on the teachings of Christ, the blessings of righteousness, and the peace found in places like the Temple? The scripture where Pres. Uchtdorf acquired this question, Luke 12:34, states:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that the heart is the symbol for love, and according to Matthew 6:24, your heart cannot be in two places. As soon as we start to love our material items more than the spiritual, we fall into the trap described by Pres. Uchtdorf as a spiritual blind spot. Simply going through the motions, going to church, praying indifferently, reading but not studying the scriptures, and other half-hearted actions can only lead to apostasy. President Uchtdorf, as always, said it best:
“Those who do not wish to learn and change probably will not and most likely will begin to wonder whether the Church has anything to offer them.”
Like everything else in my life right now, I’ll apply this to my mission. Now is the time God has given to be to search my own life, apply his teachings unto me more than I ever have, and reveal to Him all of my weaknesses that I don’t want to have as I preach his Gospel to the people of Houston. Now is the time for me, and everyone, to look in ourselves. Ask ourselves, where are my desires? Are my goals supportive of my testimony? And not does this message, story, or talk apply to me, but HOW does it apply to me? God isn’t wasting mine or your time, if you listen, there will be an answer.