Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sacrifice is Expected

Ryan’s return home from mission and I gave this talk
March 12, 2006

1 Nephi 16:6 “Now, all these things were said and done as my father dwelt in a tent in the valley which he called Lemuel.”

Many people that I knew who are not members of the church, approached me and commented that they could never send their son away for two years. It was beyond their understanding how I could ever allow that to happen. They said that they could never sacrifice their time with their child for any reason.

I thought a great deal about that during that period of time because my viewpoint was so vastly different. Of course, I would sacrifice my time with Ryan. Of course, I would support him in his decision to serve the Lord for two years. These things have been brought back to my remembrance as Ryan has returned. The two years is finished and the sacrifice has been made.

Two individuals with two viewpoints came to my mind as I thought about how people view sacrifice. The first is Nephi. I began my talk by quoting Nephi’s words about his father’s sacrifice. Nephi’s father, Lehi, sacrificed a great deal, at least from Nephi’s perspective. I get that from Nephi’s own fascination with his father dwelling in a tent. He mentioned several times “and my father dwelt in a tent.” From those words, I can deduce Nephi is recognizing his father’s sacrifice. Lehi was a man of some influence, wealth, status, reputation, and means. He was born under the covenant. His sons stood to inherit much in terms of land and name and influence. Yet when called upon by the Lord, Lehi left it all behind. He left his home, his possessions, his extended family, his power, and his status in the community. He left it all to pursue a new life of which he knew nothing about, other than the Lord had commanded him to do so. Nephi never forgot this. He stood in awe of his father. He reverenced him for his choice and decision. It was the right thing to do, as we all know, because we know the rest of the story. Lehi and his family did not know what would happen to them as they made this journey. They just knew the Lord said they must leave and leave they did. The Lord did not reveal what would happen to them except one step at a time. I'd like to just add their journey took 11 years. I'm sure there were weeks or months in which they had no idea what to expect or why they were being tested. We know they were being refined for future challenges, but they may not have had that understanding.

When the Lord asks us to sacrifice, we do not know what will happen. We just do it because we trust in Him and know He wants only the very best life for us. He wants to train us and teach us how to become our very best selves.

As we continue reading in 1 Nephi, we learn how they are blessed as they are obedient, faithful and diligent.

I know as I look back on Ryan’s mission through his letters, I see how he was blessed as he was obedient, faithful, and diligent. I know that we have been blessed as we were obedient, faithful, and diligent.

So why do we sacrifice when we do not know what will result from our sacrifice. Hindsight is 20/20. But we sacrifice prior to the blessings. I can tell you why I have sacrificed.

Read from “The Atonement” in “Preach My Gospel”.

Other than my covenant to sacrifice all that I have and am for Christ, I want to do whatever is asked of me or required of me to gain access to that most wonderful of all gifts, the great atoning sacrifice of my Savior. When I think of things in this way, it is not a sacrifice at all. It is a gift that I can give to my Savior and Redeemer, as He as already given His all to me.

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