okay so that was the physical side of me for the week.. now its time for the spiritual side of me.
i would like to give this sermon a title,... "THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD"
mathew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your balms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
this past saturday i had the amazing experience of being trained in our mission home by elder ardurn, a member of the area presidency in the philippines with the other missionaries that were invited. just so you know nothing i will write will quite capture what im trying to say, or pain the picture im trying to show you. but ill take as much artistic liberty as i can and see if i can get this out just right.
for anyone whos experienced training from general authorities you know how intense it is. the spirit just seems to fill the room as soon as the come in. we started off normal, had a great musical number that i was able to participate in "savior redeemer of my soul" and then elder Ardurn began to teach us. he started out by asking us to take some time and find a scripture that really impresses you, and be prepared to share with the group why it impresses you.. as we all started to search my thoughts ran through scripure references, favorite verses, different topics, i wanted to find one that would really impress him, that was really an impressive scripture. when he continued he talked about the importance of traditions, about music, and a number of other topics and then he called on eldr smith to share what scripture he had picked that really impressed him. i looked at elder smith and i thought man that would be terrifying to be up there, asked to teach a group of people in front of a general aug\thority.. then i thought could i do that? yeah i could probably do it. and then elder smith started reading his scriptures. it was found in 2 nephi chapter 4 when nephi is mourning for his failures and imperfections. and then elder smith shared how important being obedient is and how we all need to be lie nephi and i thought to myself yeah i have a lot of weaknesses i need to work on... but then at the same time i noticed i was kinda getting bothered by the things elder smith was saying about obedience and all that stuff i thought to myself thats the same stuff missionaries always say in front of their leaders, and then i noticed that deep down i wanted to be the one sharing the scritpure that really impressed me. i thought about my level of obedience and then thats where the spirit seemed to take over.. the first thought was... why are you obedient? why do you want to follow the schedule 100 percent, why do you want to improve your teaching skills and why are you sitting in a meeting with a general authority listening to your fellow missionary sharing something important to him and all your doing is thinking about yourself. and then i started thinking about the reasons why we do things and i remembered...
Take heed that ye do not your balms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5 ¶And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hastbshut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly
i applied the lesson to all aspects of life and especially to me and i learned a great truth. for the first time i understhood what it means in ephesians 2 : 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
it is important that we are always doing the right things. it is imprtant that we follow the commandments and are "100 percent" but i know that thats not enough. i feel like it is more important to got that we are doing those out of a love for him and a desire to serve him and others than if we came to a state of perfection in actions and deeds but our inward self is no closer to god than if we hadnt been doing any of them. im so greatful that the spirit had a lesson for me. that i need to change. i believe that us doing the right thing is only half of the puzzle were trying to put together. true discipleship, or conversion is when we can find a way to overcome the pride, the natural man and the selfish desires that we all have and do good things because... we desire to do good things. that we are obedient to the commandments because we love the lord and we want to do what makes him happy, not for our own ego.
have you ever found yourself cleaning the house or picking up after other people, going the extra mile, and feeling like noone appreciates it? going out of your way to make things great for everyone butt not feeling the happiness that should come from being in the service of your fellow beings? or doing the dishes everyday and finding youself disappointed because you didnt hear a thank you, or later theres more dishes (ive been guilty most oif my life for not being very thankful by the way) well if you ever find yourself in that situation because i have found myself in that situation for a very long time... just do one thing. think to yourself. why am i doing this? why am i serving my companion? or always cleaning or whatever the situation is. and then read mathew 6. if we can serve others with a mindset that we are serving our god, even though others dont seem to see it, or dont appreciate what you are doing... "your father in heaven that seeth in secret will reward you openly"
in case you didnt realize, i had a great spiritual experience on saturday. i felt like i was recieving personal direction, and i feel it came from a loving heavenly father. i believe that he is there are knows us, and will help us. that he wants us to be happy and if were l\willing to learn he will send us that god given guidance every once of a while when we find ourself off course.
thanks for hearing the sermon of the week. thats whats been on my mind.! i love you all take care until next week... elder landeen