I'm getting a late start today, at least as far as blogging goes! Even a crock pot Sunday dinner has to start early and takes a little time. From when our morning meeting gets started until our Sacrament block is over, it is a minimum of 5 1/2 hours. It's not a complaint, just commentary on the day. Add in things like Mike talking in Sacrament meeting and Tom having an ASL program performance tonight and it just adds up to be a long Sunday. But I love going to church! I always gain so much insight from the members of the ward – the speakers in Sacrament meeting, our Sunday School and Relief Society teachers…all the comments made during class – all help to buoy me up and prepare me to face another week with renewed dedication. Which is a good thing because by this time next Saturday, I will need the same spiritual renewal. I think that is one of the main reasons that we meet together often – that and taking the Sacrament.
Among all the good things I heard today, two things were shared that I thought were particularly interesting. One brother shared a conversation he had with his mission president. This is not verbatem, but my understanding of his comments. After sharing his concerns that he wasn't being as good a missionary as he wanted to be, and that perhaps his thoughts weren't exactly "missionary-like", or as focused as they should be, his mission president told him that he was not responsible and didn't own every thought that came into his head. That was one of the tools of Satan…he would introduce thoughts that would be a distraction to a young missionary and keep him from being effective in his calling. I had never thought of that before. We know that Satan is the master of deception and lies and that it is his goal to keep us from returning to our Heavenly Father. He will tell us that we are awful to have those kind of thoughts and that we are innately bad and not worthy of loftier goals. I took this to heart because I occasionally have less than kind thoughts about people that I work or come in contact with and I have to work to remove those thoughts from my mind. I was being quite hard on myself, thinking that this was a serious character flaw. I had never really considered that it might not be coming from some deep, dark place in my soul, but rather from someone trying to keep me from becoming a more kindly, loving person. It was a burden lifted! I was reminded of the Savior and His experience after He fasted for 40 days and was tempted by the devil. After Satan offered him power over all the world if only Christ would worship him, in Luke 4:8 it says:
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
That sounds like a good response to unkind thoughts. We are all imperfect people and it is with what judgment we judge others that we will be judged. We must be careful even in our thoughts.
The second thought was a favorite scripture of mine. In Doctrine and Covenants 6:33-34, a revelation is given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery as they were beginning the translation of the Book of Mormon. It reads:
33 Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
While this was specific to the task at hand for Joseph and Oliver, how appropriate the words are to any of us as we endeavor to do good works. We have but to remember that good only comes from one source, and as we seek to do good, and follow the inspiration that comes, good will come of our efforts. I love the words "fear not". Our Heavenly Father wants us to have confidence as we proceed in life. He does not want us to be afraid. Fear keeps us from doing good and stagnates our progression.
Have confidence and do good…there is great need in the world of kind hearts and helpful hands and great need in us for kind words and deeds!