Why is a question many people tend to ask.
For those of you who have been around little kids you quickly learn that ‘why’ is infact one of their favorite words.
They ask things such as,
“Why do I need to eat all my veggies?”
“Why must I do my chores before I go out and play?”
“Why did the chicken cross the road?”
“Why, mommy, why?”
Although valid, these questions are, as children grow older, they begin to ask more educated questions. Like….
“Why did grandmother die?”
“Why can’t I see her anymore?”
“Why is it important for me to believe in God and in Heaven?”
As we get older, we start to understand more fully how the world works and our responsibilities. We begin to ask,
“Why should I love my fellowmen?”
“Why should I go to church and on a mission?”
“Why should I get married in the temple?”
All these ‘Why’ questions are asked as a question of motivation.
What is the motivation behind doing these things?
In a world where consequences are slowly becoming more and more disregarded, why do we choose to do the things we do?
In the well-known story of Alice in wonderland, when Alice first meets the cheshire cat she is lost,
she asks the cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” To which the cat says, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” “I don’t much care where –” says Alice “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” Declares the cat.
This is an important lesson for life. When we came down to this Earth, whether we were born in the church or not, we had to find out where we were or where we wanted to go. The adversary would like us to think that it doesn’t matter which way we go! But it does! But, in order to fight against his temptations, we must first care where we are going. Alice later says, “Who in the world, am I?” She didn’t understand who she was, so she didn’t know which way she ought to go.
I believe these questions that Alice had, and that we all have had, can only truly be answered by first knowing why we are here and where we came from. When you have an understanding of these things, it is easier to move forward in the correct direction. We are literal children of god and he is our literal Father in Heaven. He wants us to return again. This life, is a test. He knows that we will come across our own Cheshire cats and mad hatters, and he knows sometimes we won’t always make the best decisions. He knows that we aren’t perfect, but he knows that we can be better, so he sent his son to pay for our sins and feel all of our sorrows, so that when we do mess up and when we do cry out in agony and pain, we can repent and move forward with a perfect brightness of hope. Why does he do this? Because he loves us. Having this knowledge, we can see that we are important. That God, the supreme ruler of the universe, is mindful of you. of your problems. of your scraped knees & broken hearts and your vices. Knowing this & knowing the price that his son Jesus Christ paid for us, helps us see why we must live the best life we can! This life is a gift! Do you usually receive a gift from someone you love & disregard it? Or do you cherish the gift and do all the can to show the giver that their gift and their love means so much to you?
God does not leave us lonely. He has given us families and puts the people in our life there, for a reason. He has given us ways to communicate with him, through prayer. He also provided us with the gift of the restoration. The restoration brought to light a spiritually dark world. Many people were wandering around lost like Alice, not knowing where to receive God’s light. The restoration re-established God’s work on the Earth. It showed us that God does in fact live. That he is there for us and will lead us in the right direction, if we only will have faith in God and in the atonement of Jesus Christ.
God’s counsel is often quiet. He speaks to us through a still, small voice or through heavenly promptings. Sometimes, we must first act in faith and then the Lord will reveal to us the way we must go.
An example of this is found in the scriptures, in first Nephi. After Nephi and his family are told by God to flee the city of Jerusalem and they do, they are told by God again to go back and get the records of their ancestors which are in the hands of Laban, the King. This really frustrated Nephi’s older brothers. But him and his brother’s went back to get the plates. They didn’t know exactly how they were going to get the plates though. Laban wasn’t the nicest guy and would probably kill them. They each attempted to receive those plates, but each time they were chased out of the city. It wasn’t until the last try that Nephi was directed as to how to get the plates and then he was successful. This happens many times in our life, but we must remember, in these times where we don’t always have the answer, to be like Nephi. To not get discouraged but say, ” I will go and do the things which the Lord commands, for I know the Lord will provide a way”.
We have been taught to first abtain a knowledge of the gospel, then to go out and teach.
If we don’t already know before we go on a mission, we will soon learn that missionary work isn’t easy. Just like Nephi obtaining those plates wasn’t easy.
I would like to add a little piece of one of my currently favorite talks given by Jeffery R. Holland on missionary work and the atonement, he says, “I am convinced that missionary work is not easy,because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy. We are the church of Jesus Christ. This is the truth. He is our great eternal head. Why would we think that it would be easy for us- when it was never, ever easy for him. In turn, how could we possibly bare any moving, lasting testimony of the atonement if we have never known or felt anything of such an experience. He then says, “As missionaries we are proud to say we are disciples of Christ, and we are, but mark my word, that means that you must be prepared to walk something of the path he walked. To feel something-something, a little, of the pain that he felt.To at least occasionally- sometime on your mission, shed one of the tears of sorrow that he shed”. He then says, “If the missionaries can come to love and appreciate it, the atonement will carry them. Let them know that when they struggle, when they are rejected, and spit upon, they are standing shoulder to shoulder with the best life this world has ever known. The only pure and perfect missionary that ever lived. They have every reason to stand tall and be grateful that the savior and redeemer of the world knows all about their sorrows and their afflictions, and for a moment or two in their lives, they will understand what he went through for them”.
So let us go back to the first question:
In just a few short weeks I will be saying fgoodbye to my family and friends and entering the MTC to start my mission. And much like Nephi, although I do not know what lies ahead, I will move forward in faith and I will go and do what the Lord has commanded me. I might not know right now why I have been called to that specific area at this specific time, but I know that the Lord does. That he will provide a way. I know that this gospel is true. & I can not deny it. I will go out and I will preach to all those I meet In California, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. One last quote that I love and that I feel does a good job of explaining why people choose to serve missions is a quote by Bob Morehead. It is called
The fellowship of the unashamed
“I am apart of the fellowship of the unashamed.The dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line.The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future secure. I am finished and done with low-living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on his presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go until he comes, give till’ I drop, preach until all know, and work until he stops me. And when he returns for his own he will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear”.
This gospel has blessed my life. I cannot deny what I know to be true. It is through Christ that I am strengthened, and it is for Christ that I will serve this mission, and bring his people who are searching for the truth but know not where to find it, to him. I love my Savior and Heavenly Father. I have a testimony that they live and that they have given us this gospel so that we can come unto them and be lifted up.