'May we ever be found doing the work of the Lord'
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In his final remarks at our recent general conference, President Thomas S. Monson asked the membership of the Church to "ever be found doing the work of the Lord."
What is the "work of the Lord?" We know that the grand overarching work of the Lord is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). It is the work of salvation, not only for ourselves and God's children here on earth, but also for those who have died without the gospel.
As we are found doing the work of the Lord, we will bring salvation to our own souls. Doctrine and Covenants 4:4 promises us, "For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul."
A few years ago, in an effort to "thrust in my sickle," I took the opportunity to share the gospel. My stake president had invited the members of his stake to share the Book of Mormon with others. I decided that I would give a Book of Mormon to someone during an upcoming trip to Louisiana; I wanted to report my obedience to the stake president. On the airplane, I sat next to a young adult with whom I conversed throughout the flight. When it became obvious to me that she was not a member of the Church, I thought, "Aha! Here's my success story for the stake president." As we began our descent I reached in my purse for the brand new Book of Mormon that had been burning a hole in my thoughts. I said nicely to her, "I'd like to give you a Book of Mormon." Immediately the girl put her hands up in front of her face and declared very loudly, "NO!" What a shock! What an embarrassment! Quickly I returned the scriptures to my purse and said, "Oh, well it is really a good book." She stiffly replied, "I don't need that." The plane landed and I hurried off as quickly as I could.
What had gone wrong? Plenty. As I reviewed the situation it was clear that I had not followed the counsel given in Doctrine and Covenants 4:5. "And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work." My qualifications were lacking ... almost nonexistent. Even though I had faith and hope, my charity and love for my seat partner were pushed aside because I viewed her as an opportunity for my missionary success. My eye was not single to the glory of God, but to my own hoped-for accomplishment. Simply put, my "missionary" motives were selfish, so the Spirit was not present.
In another place, at another time, a sister noticed a young woman roaring into the Church parking lot on a motorcycle. She came striding into the Church building, then stood looking around. The sister greeted her warmly and asked if she were new. The girl told her she wanted to see what the Mormon Church was like. The sister brought this leather-clad motorcyclist into sacrament meeting, sat with her, introduced her in Relief Society and invited her to Sunday dinner. Charity and love were at work and the investigator was taught by the Spirit as the missionaries met with her. Within weeks she was baptized.
In October conference, Elder S. Gifford Nielsen gave us a "game plan" on how to accomplish the work. "Pray to bring someone closer to the Savior and His gospel every day. ... Pray for the missionaries serving in your area and their investigators by name every day. ... Invite a friend to an activity." Elder M. Russell Ballard encouraged us to "kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless [us] with missionary opportunities." Opportunities will come and will flow as a natural result of our love for others. "Just be positive, and those whom you speak with will feel your love."
So how can youth be found doing the work of the Lord in their own homes and neighborhoods? They relate every day to their peers at school, their family members, their friends and others. This daily "relating" with others can contribute mightily to the work of the Lord if it is done with faith and "an eye single to the glory of God."
And don't forget, the youth of the Church are computer savvy and can be a mighty force in the Lord's work as they use online resources to search and find the records of their ancestors. These relatives are alive in the spirit world and need our work on earth to bless them with the gospel ordinances. Family history provides missionary opportunities that can be performed in our own homes.
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, reminded us, "When you were baptized, your ancestors looked down on you with hope. Perhaps after centuries, they rejoiced to see one of their descendants make a covenant to find them and to offer them freedom. In your reunion, you will see in their eyes either gratitude or terrible disappointment. Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands" ("Hearts Bound Together," Ensign, May 2005).
Whether it is on an airplane, in a chapel, in the halls at school, or on a home computer doing family history, "may we ever be found doing the work of the Lord" and bringing souls unto Him.