Rich Young Man and Christ

A Nameless Legacy

TheDiscipleMD

Perhaps you have never heard of him. He was one of the original followers of one Jesus of Nazareth. but you might remember his story, as recorded in the gospel of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

“And , behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do. that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him….if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments…The young man saith unto him. All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:16-22)

What was this young man’s name? Well, his name is not recorded. But it might have been Ahab! If this young man had given up his riches and followed the Savior, he might have gone down in history with a name. He might have ended up being one of the Lord’s apostles. He might be known throughout Christendom as Apostle Ahab, and we would all know of his wonderful conversion story. People would still be reading and feeling inspired by his willingness to forsake all for the gospel. It would have been a wonderful story. One for the ages! The conversion story of the Apostle Ahab! Instead, this young man went down in history….nameless! His earthly possessions have long since been given to another. His imprint…found nowhere on humanity!

Another story, similar, is also found in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. You know this story…and their names.

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea…And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother…and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and…and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-22)

Peter, James, John, and Andrew! Thousands have been named after them. We will never know the name of the rich young man who came to Jesus seeking eternal life. He remains nameless and nameless is his legecy. Let us live our lives such that we bring honor to our own given names, but more importantly, that we live such that we bring honor to Jesus Christ, whose name we have taken upon ourselves.

boxprizes

Sur(prize)! It’s Worthless

TheDiscipleMD

I hadn’t seen one in years, but there it was. It was a prize in my cereal box of Coco Puffs. It brought back so many childhood memories! I always loved it when my Mom would buy cereal that had a prize in it. In fact, whenever I happened to be with her when she was grocery shopping, I would look for the cereal that gave a prize. Sometimes I would stoop so low as to recommend to my Mom to buy Shredded Wheat or some other undesirable cereal, just to get that prize. And so it was that last week when I pulled that prize out of the box, I sat back in my chair as I allowed memories to flood over my mind. I couldn’t help but smile.

Last weeks “prize” was typical of what you find in a cereal box. It was an image of a character out of a popular children’s movie made out to sit on top of a pencil. It reminded me so much of the other prizes that I saw over the years. They were trinkets that could catch your eye, but were of little or no value. It is a wonder that you fell for it so often as a kid; buying cereal for the prize. None of them were ever any good or lasted; just a flashy piece of plastic that soon was in the junk drawer of your dresser. But somehow, as a kid, you would hold onto that “piece of junk”, because it was supposedly free. I didn’t even have the heart to throw away my “prize” from last week. Instead I put it on the counter top as if I would someday use it. A worthless piece of plastic that will be moved from a shelf to a drawer then eventually to the trash can where it belongs. Sometimes it is just hard to throw away worthless things.

A lot of today’s prizes, presented to us adults, are just as worthless. They are marketed differently. The advertising of the “prize” makes it so appealing. Sometimes we never grow up. We continue buying things of little or no value. We enslave ourselves trying to get these prizes when, in the end, almost all of these “prizes” end up on the roadside. They wait for the sanitation truck to pick them up and take them to the destination they deserve. We have been warned over and over regarding these worthless “prizes”. We have been given plastic cards to use that actually seem to make the “prizes” free. Alas, they are not and the day comes when the price needs to be paid, usually long after the “prize” has been carted away. Nothing testifies of the worthlessness of most possessions as a move from one house to another. It gives you pause when you start rummaging through your “things” when moving. Sometimes “I stand all amazed” at the lack of judgment I have used when spending my hard-earned money!

Sometimes it stings to hear these things. I guess that’s why the Lord gives us prophets. They have the courage to speak the truth. I know when I listened to Elder Hales’ General Conference talk a few years ago, it hit a nerve. When that happens to me, I know it is because I need to improve in that area. He said:

“We must remember that the adversary knows us extremely well. He knows where, when, and how to tempt us. If we are obedient to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we can learn to recognize the adversary’s enticements. Before we yield to temptation, we must learn to say with unflinching resolve, “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:23). Our success is never measured by how strongly we are tempted but by how faithfully we respond. We must ask for help from our Heavenly Father and seek strength through the Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ. In both temporal and spiritual things, obtaining this divine assistance enables us to become provident providers for ourselves and others.”

Elder Hales further advised:

“Being provident providers, we must keep that most basic commandment, “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17). Our world is fraught with feelings of entitlement. Some of us feel embarrassed, ashamed, and less worthwhile if our family does not have everything the neighbors have. As a result, we go into debt to buy things we can’t afford—and things we do not really need. Whenever we do this, we become poor temporally and spiritually. We give away some of our precious, priceless agency and put ourselves in self-imposed servitude. Money we could have used to care for ourselves and others must now be used to pay our debts. What remains is often only enough to meet our most basic physical needs. Living at the subsistence level, we become depressed, our self-worth is affected, and our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and the Lord are weakened. We do not have the time, energy, or interest to seek spiritual things.” (Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually, Elder Robert D. Hales Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles).

Elder Hales gave two suggestion when he said, “When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”

Let us be careful that we are not allowing ourselves to buy the unwanted and unneeded, and mostly worthless “prizes” of life. The allure is strong! Let us heed the words of the prophets!

 

Rolex Press Kit 2010

Prove To Me That God Exists!

TheDiscipleMD

Over the course of my life I have had a number of conversations with individuals who challenge the existence of a supreme being. They want some kind of proof that a God exists. I understand their point of view and rational, and although I don’t agree with it, I respect their position.  In response to their question I relate a simple story to try to explain that my belief also has some logic.

A number of years ago I took some church youth on a short hike. Prior to the hike I had gone up the trail  a distance and took my wrist watch off and placed it under a tree by the side of the trail and then returned to lead the group. As we came upon my watch, which was clearly visable to everyone, one of the youth picked it up and exclaimed, “Someone lost their watch!”  I replied that perhaps they were wrong in their assumption and that the watch had simply formed itself over the course of many years. A lengthy conversation ensued with the determination that it would be foolish to believe that the watch had just formed itself and that it was clear it was a man-made product.  I admitted that the watch was mine and then we talked for some time about the  world and, that like the watch, the imprint of a supreme being could be found in all aspects of its creation. The watch, like the world, had not simply come together without the help of an intelligence.  I was only echoing the words of Alma when he was challenged regarding the existence of God. he replied:

“…all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” (Alma 30:44)

It has never  been hard for me to believe that there is a God.  I also have full faith that he is a personal God who has an interest in our lives and our destiny.  I believe we are literally sons and daughters of this Being and that he is the father of our spirits. That may be hard for some to accept, but nevertheless, it is not without reason or logic.

In the end there is an argument to be made on both sides of the issue regarding diety. However, I choose to believe in a Heavenly Father because I feel there is logic to my beliefs, and I have faith in the testimonies of the prophets.  I also believe that life has a purpose and that mankind’s destiny is celestial, the proof of which is simply the powerful spiritual feelings that are deeply embedded in my soul.

world-on-shoulders

When The Weight Of The World Is Ours

TheDiscipleMD

With all the responsibilities that come from being a husband, father, provider,  and church member,  there have been times when I have felt somewhat overwhelmed. However, I have tried to keep my life in balance and was uplifted lately by re-reading the words of  the late Joseph B.Wirthlin. Part of his remarks state:

“We can easily get our lives out of balance. I remember a few years that were particularly challenging for me. Our family had grown to seven children. I had served as a counselor in the bishopric and was then given the sacred call as bishop of our ward. I was striving to manage our business that required long hours each day.

There was simply too much to do in the time available. Instead of sacrificing things of significance, I decided I’d get up earlier, take care of my business, then spend the time required to be a good father and husband and a faithful member of the Church. It wasn’t easy. There were mornings when the alarm clock went off that I cracked open an eyelid and glared at it, daring it to keep ringing.

Nevertheless, the Lord was merciful and helped me to find the energy and time to do all I had committed to do. Although it was difficult, I have never regretted making the choice to heed the Savior’s call and follow Him. Think of the debt we owe to Him. Jesus is “the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in [Him], though he were dead, yet shall he live.” There are those who have great wealth, yet they would give their all to add just a few additional years, months, or even days to their mortal lives. What should we be willing to give for eternal life? (April 2002 GC, “Follow Me”)

There is nothing magical about time management. The Lord will not provide us extra hours in the day to accomplish all we need to do.  However, with His help, and our sweat, we can receive the wisdom needed to better organize our time such that we can handle the various responsibilities that come our way. Sometimes it requires that we postpone some things we want for things of more importance. But sacrifice has always been required of faithful followers of the Savior.

Whether we are a mother of young children, or a father trying to make ends meet, when the weight of the world is ours, may we remember the words of Christ: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:30) May we exercise faith in prayer. As we “seek (we) shall find.” (Luke 11:9)

 

 

 

 



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