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Being a More Christian Christian
This is the call of Christ to every Christian today: “Feed my lambs. … Feed my sheep”—share my gospel with young and old, lifting, blessing, comforting, encouraging, and building them, especially those who think and believe differently than we do. We feed His lambs in our homes by how we live the gospel: keeping the commandments, praying, studying the scriptures, and emulating His love. We feed His sheep in the Church as we serve in priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations. And we feed His sheep throughout the world by being good Christian neighbors, practicing the pure religion of visiting and serving the widows, the fatherless, the poor, and all who are in need. For many, the call to be a Christian can seem demanding, even overwhelming. But we need not be afraid or feel inadequate. The Savior has promised that He will make us equal to His work. “Follow me,” He said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” As we follow Him, He blesses us with gifts, talents, and the strength to do His will, allowing us to go beyond our comfort zones and do things we’ve never before thought possible. This may mean sharing the gospel with neighbors, rescuing those who are spiritually lost, serving a full-time mission, working in the temple, raising a child with special needs, loving the prodigal, serving an ailing companion, enduring misunderstandings, or suffering affliction. It means preparing ourselves to answer His call by saying, “I’ll go where you want me to go; I’ll say what you want me to say; I’ll do what you want me to do; I’ll be what you want me to be.” To be who Heavenly Father wants us to be, we follow Jesus Christ. I testify that He is continually calling us to follow Him. If you are just learning about the Christian commitment of Latter-day Saints or if you have not been fully participating in the Church and want to follow Him again—fear not! The Lord’s first disciples were all new members of the Church, newly converted to His gospel. Jesus patiently taught each one. He helped them fulfill their responsibilities. He called them His friends and laid down His life for them. And He has already done the same for you and for me.
The Lord is My Light
My wife, Mary, has always loved sunflowers. She rejoices when they, in quite improbable places, appear on the roadside. There is a dirt road that leads to the home where my grandparents lived. When we started down that road, Mary would often exclaim, “Do you think we will see those amazing sunflowers today?” We were surprised that sunflowers flourish in soil which has been impacted by farm and snow removal equipment and the accumulation of materials that would not be considered ideal soil for wildflowers to grow. One of the remarkable characteristics of young wild sunflowers, in addition to growing in soil that is not hospitable, is how the young flower bud follows the sun across the sky. In doing so, it receives life-sustaining energy before bursting forth in its glorious yellow color. Like the young sunflower, when we follow the Savior of the world, the Son of God, we flourish and become glorious despite the many terrible circumstances that surround us. He truly is our light and life. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, the Savior declared to His disciples that those who offend and do iniquity shall be gathered out of His kingdom. But speaking of the faithful, He said, “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” As individuals, disciples of Christ, living in a hostile world that is literally in commotion, we can thrive and bloom if we are rooted in our love of the Savior and humbly follow His teachings.
Where Your Treasure Is
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave the following counsel not too long ago: “Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence. “Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient?” We all know that our list of earthly treasures consists of pride, wealth, material things, power, and the honors of men. They do not merit any more time and attention, so I will focus instead on the things that will constitute our treasures in heaven. What are some treasures in heaven that we can lay up for ourselves? For starters, it will be well for us to acquire the Christlike attributes of faith, hope, humility, and charity. We have been counseled repeatedly to “[put] off the natural man and … [become] as a child.” The Savior’s admonition is for us to strive to be perfect like Him and our Heavenly Father. Second, we need to put more quality time and effort into strengthening family relationships. After all, “the family is ordained of God. It is the most important unit in time and in eternity.” Third, serving others is a hallmark of a true follower of Christ. He said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Fourth, understanding the doctrine of Christ and strengthening our testimony is a labor that will bring real joy and satisfaction. We need to consistently study the words of Christ as found in the scriptures and the words of living prophets. “For behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”