LDS Business College Devotional January 12, 2010
Thank you, Brent, for that introduction. We just need to lower me into the ground now, and pull the grass over the top, and we’d be done.
Thank you, students, for being here. It’s always a big question if anybody’s going to show up when you’re the president of the College and it is your turn to speak. So I appreciate your faith and your confidence, and I pray for your continued faith and your continued confidence.
I want to say something about music in the Church for a just a moment. Isn’t it powerful? Isn’t it wonderful how easily the Spirit is invoked and brought into a meeting when there is good music? Now, I’ve heard this choir before, and it’s magnified in the moment, isn’t it? It’s wonderful. And when a group of good young people get together and they’re magnified by the Spirit, and they’re singing something as holy and as worthwhile as Lord, I Would Follow Thee, there’s only one thing that can happen, and you know what that is. The Spirit shows up, it has magnified them and blessed us. So it doesn’t matter how good of a singer you are, you should join that choir. Brother Buckley will tell you how to do it—because it will bless your life, because it’s part of being—what I want to talk about—part of being on the Lord’s errand.
I appreciate what Brad had to say today about a peace offering. That’s an interesting idea. I know you could be doing other things with your time. But you chose to be here, and that says something to your Father in Heaven. He will reward you with a portion of his spirit because you are here. You see, I’m not going to say anything very profound, but I know the Spirit will say something profound to you today, and that’s what you should write down. That’s what you should record.
So you chose to be here, we have prayed and invited the Spirit, we’ve had music to invite the Spirit, you have been invited to record what the Spirit says to you. My job is basically done. All I need to do is open my mouth and prayerfully hope that something comes out that will be the door that opens your mind and heart to what the Spirit wants you to know, feel, and do. Now let’s recognize your responsibility in these few moments together. Second Nephi 33:1 indicates that the Spirit brings the message of what is spoken or read in the scripture “unto” your heart. As Elder Bednar taught us, that does not mean into your heart. You have to receive it and record it. Moroni 10:3-5 reinforces the difference between reading and receiving. The 50th section of the Doctrine and Covenants reinforces that idea with the promise that both the speaker and listener are edified and rejoice together (D&C 50:22).. And so you have to open your heart and let the Spirit-tailored message for you come in.
A Temple of Learning
Well, two thoughts come to mind today. Can I reinforce just a little bit what Brad had to say today about a temple of learning? That’s not just an artful phrase for us. We’re very serious about it. And you say, “Why?” Well, number one, in this very room an apostle said we were a temple of learning. And I have faith—it doesn’t take much for me. If one of the Brethren, in their official capacity say it, I’m going to believe it. And if I don’t understand it, I will figure it out. That is my duty and opportunity..
So when he said it, we sat back and asked ourselves some questions.. Is a temple dedicated by a prophet? Yes. Was this school dedicated by a prophet? Yes. Is a temple a place where you can discover what Heavenly Father has in store for you in your life? Yes. Can you do the same thing at LDS Business College? Yes. Is the temple a light and beacon to the world? Yes. Is this College? Yes. It is a beacon and light because of you, who you are and the way you choose to live. You are peculiar, just as Joseph Smith said we are. Is the temple a refuge from the storm? Yes. Is this College? I promise, it can be. Is there a standard of worthiness to enter the temple? Yes. Is there a standard of worthiness to be here? Yes. Is the Spirit there? Yes. Is the Spirit here? Yes, if you allow it into your life.
Elder David B. Haight stated that in a temple we are endowed with a “power which enables us to use our gifts and capabilities with greater intelligence and increased effectiveness in order to bring to pass our Heavenly Father’s purpose in our own lives and the lives of those we love.” (Ensign, May 1992)
The Spirit is also here, and you can leave here on any given day or class and say, “I felt it,” or “Hmm. Not today.” But it is here. So we are committed to creating an environment that protects the Spirit. Why? Because the spirit is very sensitive to the environment. It doesn’t take much for Him to stand to the side and wait until we and the environment are ready. So I love you, though I don’t know you, because you are vessels of the Spirit. I’m committed to creating an environment here where the Spirit is invoked and evoked easily in your life. And all we ask you in return is to live worthy of it. I plead with you to live worthy of it.
This is such an important time and period in your life, and to be without the Spirit is walking too close to the edge of a mountain road that has no guardrail. The Spirit’s influence is too important in your life.
A Community of Saints
Now, let me say something about that as it relates to our relationship with each other on campus. We are a community of Saints. Therefore, we watch out for one another. There is an interesting attitude in your generation that, in my opinion, is destructive to a community of Saints and the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood that prevails here. And that is, “I have a brother or a sister in the gospel, in this community of Saints, with whom I affiliate. And they are doing something that deprives them of the Spirit, and I will just let it be. It doesn’t hurt me.” For some reason, in your generation, “narking” on someone is about the most unethical thing you can do. Often it’s “I don’t want to get them in trouble.” I guarantee you, they’re already in trouble. The question is, are you Christian enough to help them get out of trouble.
And so, in love, in a community of Saints, we help each other live a life so that the Spirit can accompany us. Now why do you want the Spirit in this place? I will tell you why. You’re bright, and you’re smart, and you have been given the gift of intelligence, but you’re not bright or smart enough to learn on your own what you need to learn, to know what you need to know, to do what you need to do to become what Heaven wants you to be. You can’t do it on your own. Heavenly Father didn’t intend it to work that way. That’s why every one of you but maybe a few, in this room, was given the gift of the Holy Ghost, because He knew you would need it. You’re growing up in a world that is changing so fast that you need the Spirit to help you learn what you need to learn, and you need the Spirit to help you discern between what is good, better, and best in your life.
I plead with you to be true to the covenants made at baptism, and in the temple, if that’s applicable, that you may learn, as President Henry B. Eyring said, at speeds that will just amaze the world. That is an apostolic promise associated with your ability and capability to learn.
On the Lord’s Errand
Let me change subjects now. I want to talk about being on the Lord’s errand. It follows from the idea that the College is a temple of learning, learning how to learn with the Spirit, and having the Spirit in your life to teach you what is important and to keep you safe. I will be very sensitive here, but let’s just say this: that with the Spirit in your life and the covenants and blessings of the temple, you have the foundation to be on the errand of the Lord. Those who have been through the temple hopefully understand the fullness of that statement.
Finding Your Errand
Now, what’s an errand? What does it mean to be on the Lord’s errand? An errand is something that the Lord needs to have done. It always involves doing something for someone else. Brethren who hold the priesthood, can you think of one act of using the priesthood that you do for yourself? You can’t. The errand is often in answer to someone else’s prayer or need. It may or may not require the use of the priesthood. It always requires faith. It will usually be inconvenient.
Think about that, in your ward this semester, when new callings are being extended. You may say, “Oh, I’m too busy. I can’t do my home teaching; it’s inconvenient.” It’s supposed to be inconvenient. Do you know why? Because service in the kingdom has the great ability to center us back onto the strait and narrow. Life will divert us. What could you possibly be too busy to do, brethren, than to go home teaching and to be perhaps the only priesthood influence in the home or apartment of three or four young women?
Sisters, it’s the same way. Service in the kingdom is always inconvenient. It’s supposed to be, because it will re-center you.
And finally, an errand is something that will develop Christlike attributes. So a question: how do you find your errand? Let me give you a couple of suggestions. Number one, you will find part of your errand here. You may discover what it is the Lord would have you do on the first leg of building a career or acquiring a skill. You’ll also find the Lord’s errand in very subtle, very easy, quick ways. It could be a conversation in an elevator that uplifts someone. It could be your arm around someone. It could be just a smile and a hello. But you will find it here if you look for it, are open to it, and take action when you see the opportunity.
You will find it in the scriptures. You will find your errand in a patriarchal blessing, along with at least one spiritual gift to accomplish that errand. You will find it in personal revelation, if you ask and if you act and move your feet forward.
So you say to yourself, “Well, why me? Why do I have to have an errand?” Brethren of the Melchizedek Priesthood, raise your hands. You own an errand! You were foreordained to have that errand before you came to this earth. How many of you, in your patriarchal blessing, are Ephraimites? You own the blessings and obligations of Ephraim. For those who are not of Ephraim, you’re part of the Abrahamic covenant, and the errand of gathering is part of that Abrahamic covenant, so you own it too. So don’t be a zebra that tries to complain about its own stripes. You own the errand. Embrace it.
Qualifying for Your Errand
Now, how do you qualify for an errand? The first principle of qualifying for your errand is obedience. What is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the first law of Heaven? Obedience. So, if obedience is the first law of heaven, tell me how you get more faith? You must be more obedient. If you want faith in the principle of tithing, pay it. If you want faith in the principle of the Word of Wisdom, live it. If you want faith in the power of the temple, go there! Do baptisms for the dead. Do ordinance work. Or, if you can’t do those, just go touch the temple. President Monson says that’s okay—just go touch it. Be near it.
We are told in scripture that faith is a gift. It is a gift that comes from obedience. So how do you qualify for an errand? First, be obedient and then move forward in faith.
Now, let’s draw a connection between obedience and moral agency. True or false: we have “free” agency? False. You can’t find the words “free agency” it in the scriptures. It’s not there. You’ll find moral agency. Moral agency has two components. One is the right to choose what is right. Think about it, you did not battle Satan with your testimony of the Atonement in the pre-mortal life to then come down here and choose wrong. You came down here to exercise your moral agency and your valiancy to choose what is right. That is important to understand. Moral agency also has consequences that come with it. We cannot divorce the use of agency from consequences. You connect the consequences in your life and you have a destiny. Obedience and faith to move forward, reaps the consequences that combine to produce your life and destiny.
If you need a course correction to put yourself on the errand the Lord wants for you, then use your agency to be obedient, exercise faith, and you will reap the consequences. It makes sense. Sterling W. Sill called it the “As If” principle. If you want a character trait act as if you already had it. Proverbs 23:7 states, “As a man thinketh so is he” The English philosopher, James Allen, wrote a book with this same title.
So, first—qualify for your errand through obedience and faith.
Second: education. Leadership is the key to church growth, and the key to leadership is education. Such was a conclusion drawn by those within the Church Education System who sought to define the role and purpose of the Church’s significant efforts to provide educational opportunities. Sam Allred said this: “One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to ask too little of ourselves. It’s important to learn that we can do hard things.” I repeat: It’s important to learn that we can do hard things.
I invite you, when you are here in this community of Saints where the Spirit is and we love you, to try something hard. The Lord will bless you for it. If you’re going to try something and fail, what safer place is there to fail than right here? We will pick you up, dust you off, pat you on the head, build a scaffold around you, and help you move forward.
The third idea for qualifying to be on the Lord’s errand is spirituality. As you sanctify yourself, so says D&C 43:16, you will be endowed with power, to give as the Lord has spoken.
Seek the Lord’s Guidance
The fourth idea is to seek the Lord’s help. Ask for it. The Lord is ready to give you blessings that He is prepared to give you if you will just ask for them.
Let me tell you a story. It is entitled, “I Was Born to Be King.”
It’s the story of King Louis XV of France. He had been taken from his throne and imprisoned. His young son, the prince, had been taken by those who had dethroned the king. They thought that, inasmuch as the king’s son was heir to the throne, if they could destroy him morally, he would never realize the great and grand destiny that life had bestowed upon him—to be the king of France.
So they took him to a community far away, and there they exposed the lad to every filthy and vile thing that life could offer. They exposed him to foods, the richness of which would quickly make him a slave to his appetites. They used vile language around him constantly, and exposed him to lewd and lusty women. They exposed him to dishonor, to distrust. The young prince was surrounded 24 hours a day by everything that could drag him down and drag the soul of man as low as it could get. And over six months while he had this treatment, not once did the young lad buckle under the pressure.
Finally, after intensive temptation, the captors questioned him. Why had he not submitted himself to these things? Why had he not partaken? All the things they had offered provided pleasure, would satisfy one’s lusts, and were desirable to everyone else. All of them were offered to him, and he would not partake of any of them. Why? And the boy said, “I cannot do what you ask of me, because I was born to be king.”
Brothers and sisters, you were born to be kings and queens in celestial worlds. Satan would love to distract you from that destiny and from your errand that will prepare you for those titles.
May I just bear you my testimony in closing, that your errand is to do the work of the Lord in small, and maybe big ways, to prepare a place for His coming – in to your personal life and His grand Second Coming. He has blessed you with the gifts to perform that errand. He will lead you and guide you to find it, and bless you as you move your feet to accomplish it. I know that because the will of God and His comforting influence is made manifest to His children through His servants, His agents—both ordained agents, and those of us who are part of the community of Christ.
He is God, the Eternal Father. He lives. He loves you enough that He gave you apostles and prophets to guide you. He loves you enough to provide access to Him daily, through personal prayer. He will answer your prayers. He loves you enough that His answers will be in His time, and in His way, but I promise He will answer. Part of our errand is to be ready for when He answers.
I testify that His Only Begotten Son came to this earth, and that He did everything to please His Father, including treading the winepress alone, and by so doing, wrought out the Atonement, that thereby no matter what we have done, we may reap the blessing in the 45th section of the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord says what He will say to the Father about you at the pleasing bar of God. The Savior paid the price, and He will claim you as his own because of your obedience, faith, and the errand you have run for Him. Read it. It is powerful and should give you comfort and courage.
You are a chosen generation and a royal priesthood. You’ve heard it since your days in Primary. I pray someday you’ll really believe it, and conduct yourselves in a way that the Lord can bless you, because He wants to. He said it in the scriptures. He said, “I delight [in blessing you] with the greatest of all blessings.” (D&C 41:1) And then, He says later, giving you commandments, and not a few. (See D&C 59:4) Why? To bless you for your obedience and faith. That’s all He wants. That’s all we want to do here.
I pray the Lord will expand your minds this semester. I pray that He will protect you as you exercise your moral agency. You are His. He lives; He is there for you. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.