I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished.I loved that. As convenant keeping latter-day saints it is easy to get going on the inertia of duty. Of striving to lengthen our stride, with out running faster than we have strength. It is such a balance. But I loved that what Pres. Uchtdorf could imagine was the Saviour purposefully blessing others.
I can’t see it.
Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time.
I was blessed to sit in a stewardship interview recently where my wise Bishop reminded me that it is easy to get caught up in trying to make sure "The machine" is running, that the administrative aspects of our callings are running smoothly, that we sometimes forget why the machine was started up in the first place, we forget that we are really called to minister to God's precious children. Sheer busy-ness does not ensure success, and does not always result in the most effective discipleship
That was what so much of conference came down to for me. Discipleship.
That we just need to follow the Saviour.
We need to listen to Him.
We need to be on His errand.
And we need to get rid of anything that gets in the way of hearing and heeding Him.
Before I'd got a chance to listen to the Relief Society general meeting, my wonderful friend told me about Elder Eyring talk, how he related the experience of his daughter who made it to the hospital to deliver her baby prematurely just in time, because her visiting teacher felt that she should "just stop by". My friend got emotional as she said, "I want so badly to be that person. To be someone the Lord can trust to respond. Someone He can say,
"Go! Now! " to and I will!"
I thought about all the days she'd called at just the right time or told me just the right thing. She so already is.
She is a disciple because she listens.
Because she is trying.
And she listens and tries because she loves the Lord.
Which leads me to my favorite talk? Elder Holland.
It's WAY better to listen to then to read, by the way. He made you feel like you were right there on the shores, smelling the fish and the salty nets, feeling Peter's confusion as the Lord keeps asking him the same question.
“Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.”1
To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do....
So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back... Your Father in Heaven expects your loyalty and your love at every stage of your life.”
I say "I love thee" all the time in my prayers, but how do I show it?
How many times would the Savoir need to ask me before it really sank in?
I was talking my deeply spiritual sister-in-law and she had applied the New Testament story to her mothering/. In essence she said Our children often ask us, in their own way,
Do you love me more than these? More than the dishes, more than facebook, more than your to do list? I say I love my kids all the time, but when they truly feel it is when I show them by putting them first.
The Saviour wants to know we put Him first. When we do, we gradually become like Him.
As Elder Johnson's said in his talk
Discipleship is all about doing and becoming. As we obey His commandments and serve our fellowmen, we become better disciples of Jesus Christ. ...Ultimately, it is total submission to His will that helps us become as our Savior is. Again, becoming like Him and being one with Him is the ultimate goal and objective—and essentially the very definition of true discipleship.
That doing and becoming was reiterated in Elder Bednar's talk about the testimony needing to grow into conversion.
Yes, for me, Discipleship was a definite theme.
Then today at Stake Conference Pres Low was talking about dedication (tying in the Calgary Temple dedication this month) and ways we can more fully dedicate lives to the Lord and His work. As he shared all these "little" examples of times he and his family choose to keep the sabbath day holy, or to be generous in their offerings when they were still struggling through school, or as he read from his journal when he was a young bishop with a house full of young boys--I just looked at Sister Low and thought, you don't just magically become a great family, you just aren't somehow amazing people just because...they are amazing because they have consistently chose
to sacrifice, to obey, to serve. We can all become those stellar people, the great examples we admire, it just takes faithfully living the gospel, just like we know we should. As we choose to sacrifice it's that sacrifice that "makes us"--makes us better and makes us more. As Pres. Low put it (according to my notes):
"[Our choices to sacrifice set our course, because we knew and were determined that such sacrifice would always brings blessings.]"
All the conferences left me feeling that Discipleship is an exciting path.
However soul stretching, and perhaps even exhausting it can seem ooo1at times. But it is the only way that will leave us knowing we did all we could, that we gave all of ourself, and that in return we were made more than we could have ever imagined.
The blessings and promises to those who serve the Master are worth any and every effort.
Pres Low shared this great quote form Sister Hinckley that shows the desires of a true disciples heart.
“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”
I too want those marks of discipleship. I want the Lord to know that I love Him, not just because I said it, but because I feed His sheep.
Even if sometimes, it was only peanut butter sandwiches.
|We told McKye he could only drum during the songs, |
so this is him ricking out with the Mo-Tab.