What Think Ye of Christ’s Servants?
Originally posted as a Note on my Facebook 2 October 2011
For Latter Day Saints wordwide it has been a truly Spirit-filled weekend as we celebrated and attended the 181st Semi-Annual General Conference of the church. Much could be said of each and every one of the messages that were shared with us this weekend. The prayers, the music, and the speakers all brought us just a little closer to heaven. But for a few moments I would just like to be personal and share a few thoughts with you now as this Conference Weekend comes to a close.
General Conference for me is a sacred time. I get excited as the days of Conference Weekend get closer, and I get that same feeling that I used to have as a young man when Christmas started getting close. And I know it is because I am about to receive some truly awesome gifts. – Only the gifts I receive on these sacred first weekends of April and October are not temporal gifts. They’re nothing shiny. They are nothing new and mass marketed. They are not the greatest new pieces of electronics. – They are simple eternal truths, handed down through the generations of time, to us as God’s people here in the latter days. They are gifts which bring the riches of heaven. And this weekend has proven to be no different than those in the past.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Twelve gave a terrific sermon this afternoon regarding our Savior and our relationship with Him. Elder Oaks began his conference address with the same question Jesus used to confound the Pharisees of His day: “What think ye of Christ?” (Matthew 22:42). He then continued, “With those same words I ask my fellow Latter-day Saints and other Christians what you really believe about Jesus Christ and what you are doing because of that belief.”
As Elder Oaks spoke, his and the Savior’s question rang repeatedly through my mind, “What think ye of Christ? What think ye of Christ? What think ye of Christ?”, until I noticed at some point that the question had been changed within myself and I was then being asked rhetorically by my own mind, “What think ye of Christ’s servants?” – And the Spirit whispered to me that although this weekend was a spiritual feast, it also contained the literall bread of life that I needed to partake of, store up, and ration out to make it through the next six months until we hear directly from the Lord’s mouthpieces again. The Spirit was teaching me in a simple way that yes, this Conference was great, but the words being spoken were more than just some fun-filled guidelines for life. These words were from the Lord Himself, and how I went forth from today treating these words and the words of the Lord’s servants would have a profound influence on my life.
And so I share the question that came to my mind with you and everyone else. – “What think ye of Christ’s servants?”
Will you hold their teachings and counself sacred? Will you go to bed tonight without heeding our prophet’s call to make your relationship of prayer more fulfilling with our Father in Heaven? Will you remember Elder Perry’s words to stand as a witness of Christ at all times and in all places, and to be bold in sharing your membership in the Lord’s church with others? Will you study the scriptures as Elder Scott taught? Will you seek more personal revelation as Sister Thompson taught? Brethren, will you answer Elder Holland’s call to arms and put on the full Armour of God, or rededicate yourselves to missionary service as Elder Waddell of the Seventy asked us to do? Fathers, will you honor your wives as Sister Dalton taught and become guardians of virtue in a time in which President Monson has called “morally degrading”?
In essence, will you remember the things that were taught this weekend and try to apply them to your lives? Will you read the Conference Ensign, download the MP3’s (which are already available) of each Conference Session and put them on your iPod, iPhone or smartphone of choice, and will you study and teach the words of the Lord’s servants during the next six months?
As Elder Oaks spoke today that question of what I think of Christ’s servants burned in my heart and in my soul, and I committed then and there to do better, to be better, and try just a little bit harder than I have in the past.
As I sat there in our tiny chapel and pondered upon the Lord’s servants, this story was brought to my remembrance. It is a story that was first shared by Elder Robert D. Hales in General Conference in April of 1992. And I share it here in hopes that it might touch you as it touched me the very first time I read it years ago.
Said Elder Hales,
Some years ago Father, then over eighty years of age, was expecting a visit from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on a snowy winter day. Father, an artist, had painted a picture of the home of the Apostle. Rather than have the painting delivered to him, this sweet Apostle wanted to go personally to pick the painting up and thank my father for it. Knowing that Father would be concerned that everything was in readiness for the forthcoming visit, I dropped by his home. Because of the depth of the snow, snowplows had caused a snowbank in front of the walkway to the front door. Father had shoveled the walks and then labored to remove the snowbank. He returned to the house exhausted and in pain. When I arrived, he was experiencing heart pain from overexertion and stressful anxiety. My first concern was to warn him of his unwise physical efforts. Didn’t he know what the result of his labor would be?
“Robert,” he said through interrupted short breaths, “do you realize an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ is coming to my home? The walks must be clean. He should not have to come through a snowdrift.” He raised his hand, saying, “Oh, Robert, don’t ever forget or take for granted the privilege it is to know and to serve with Apostles of the Lord.”
There is much that can be learned from such a humble father’s words. And is it any wonder that such a father would have a son serve as an Apostle?
My friends, I am the least of any Latter-day Saint. I have the same problems any of you do. I am a sinner. I lose my temper. I gossip when I shouldn’t. I get caught up with my work and forget to nourish my spirit. I don’t show enough love and attention to my family and loved ones. I struggle with all the temporal affairs of life. I forget that I am occassionaly wrong, and blame others for my follies. I am impatient. I take sacred things lightly. I forget to study my scriptures. And I don’t always get all of my home teaching done. I am weak and struggle with the Adversary more than I would like to admit. I am just a typical member of the church.
But I do know that this weekend we heard from Prophets, from Seers, and from Revelators. We heard the exact words that Jesus Christ would have shared with us had He been here Himself. Whether the messages came by His voice or the voice of His servants it is indeed the very same.
I know Jesus Christ lives. And I know He does in truth stand at the head of His church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and guide our beloved prophet President Monson, and all those who presently hold the sacred keys of the kingdom. And because Christ lives, and because He has called these men to sacred offices to teach me how to return to Heavenly Father’s presence, I want to listen. I want to obey. I want to be as exactly obedient as I can and I want to grab each and every person around me and on the streets and say, “Hey, God spoke this weekend! You should have heard it. It was great! How about you come to church with me next week and hear about it too.” – I want to walk back through the pearly gates and take as many people as I can with me. I want to take you with me. I want everyone to be there. And I want you to know that I love you. I don’t post status updates, videos, links, messages, or Tweet about Jesus to ever be preachy. I don’t want to be self righteous. And I sure as heck don’t want to appear “holier than thou” when I’m truly no holier than a cow. As already stated, I’m a rather great sinner myself. But I do share these things because I care and because I hope that someone else might enjoy them.
So I ask you again my friends, “What think ye of Christ’s Servants?”
No, there is no need to shovel a walkway of snow to allow the Lord or His servants into our homes. But there is a great need to shovel our own weaknesses, disbelief, and lukewarm attitudes out of the way to allow the Lord, His servants, and their words from this General Conference into our hearts. And I promise that as we do so our invidual lives, homes, and families will be filled with a greater measure of happiness than we’ve ever previously known. I’m pretty sure a prophet did promise us that after all…
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
– Stan Way