Best Known For…

TheDiscipleMD

A few years ago a Hollywood actor tragically died  due to a drug overdose.  He was best known for…

He was best known for…(fill in the blank), is a common byline for newspapers when they report on someone’s death.  That is, if they are ‘best known’ for something or anything.  When I read such accounts I am brought to serious reflection on what might be the byline when I die.  What am I ‘best known’ for? Thinking of such a subject and what you might end up being ‘known for’ can be sobering and  bring you to serious reflection on the meaning of your life.

Perhaps an evaluation by each of us regarding what we would be best ‘known for’ upon our death might be a worthwhile study. On the other hand, what we might be ‘best known’ for in this life can often be of no consequence in the eternities. To be ‘best known’ as a great actor, or statesmen, or athlete, or entrepreneur,  are accolades of man that will die with us. But when those talents are used properly to glorify  the Savior,  we can still be ‘best known for” our devotion to the gospel of Jesus Christ, at least to those closest to us.

In the end, I believe that to be ‘best known’ of God is what all of us should really strive for.  The scriptures tell us that “if any man love God, the same is known of him.” (1 Corinthians 8:3)  Joseph B. Wirthlin said, regarding that verse:

“What a wonderful promise—to be known of Him. It makes the spirit soar to think that the Creator of heaven and earth could know us and love us with a pure, eternal love.”

Indeed to be ‘best known’ of God is the greatest that any of us could hope to accomplish in this life. It is also a byline we should all hope to see written about the life we have lived when the day of our mortal existence comes to an end.

It’s A ‘Septic Man’ Thing!

TheDiscipleMd

“As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family or friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man. As I played “Amazing Grace,” the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen anything like that before and I’ve been installing septic tanks for more than twenty years!”

Apparently, I’m still lost . . . it’s a man thing! (‘It’s A Man Thing!” by an anonymous bagpiper)

While we all laugh at the ‘man things’ of life, there is an alarming aspect that comes when we do not seek divine help when it is clearly needed in guiding our lives. The results of relying on the ‘arm of flesh’ can have catastrophic consequences. Which brings to mind the sage advice of the Savior given to this disciples:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matt 7:7)

Let’s not be too ‘manly’ or ‘womanly’ for that matter, and forget to ask for direction in our lives from a loving God above and end up with our lives ‘in the sewer!’

Shoulders Wet With Tears

TheDiscipleMD

I really can’t explain it but it happened.  In 2002 my mother passed away and I thought I was handling her loss very well.  Then, one Sunday, a few weeks after my mother died, a fellow church member came up to me and gave condolences regarding my loss.  I felt tears start to swell in my eyes as I thanked him for his kindness.  Then, the flood gates opened up and I started to sob.  I mean sob right there in the middle of the chapel with all sorts of people in close proximity. As my tears flowed this kind man put his arms around me and when he did I laid my head on his shoulder and sobbed till I had nothing left. I was so embarrassed.  Yet, there I was, crying uncontrollably while being held in the arms by this good brother. He never pushed me away nor did he make me feel uncomfortable about my behavior.  In fact, I will say that it felt, at that moment, as though the Savior himself was holding me in his arms.  I have never forgotten the love and concern I felt from this man.

I have not seen this good brother for many years, as we both have since moved from the area.  But just this past summer I happened to see him at our old church building. We were both visiting. I went over to him and we hugged and caught up on each others lives. I mentioned to him about this experience. He remembered. I told him how special that experience was to me.  He humbly brushed it off as nothing.

Great are the words of an ancient prophet:

“…he said unto them: Behold…as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life— Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord…” (Mosiah 18)

What a wonderful and beautiful blessing it is to have brothers and sisters of the church who are willing to bear our burdens, and who mourn with us while trying to comfort us in our darkest hours. That is the true essence of Christianity; the pure love of him who we worship.

I have had many experiences with members of Christ’s church who, like this good brother, are willing to share my burdens and offer words of encouragement when I have needed them.  My hope is that I am found to have the same, ‘pure love of Christ,’ so that when others darkest hours descend upon  them, I might also be there for them.

When the day comes and the Lord asks us if we are our brothers keepers, may we be able to say, “Why yes, we are. ” And we will know where our brothers are, because our shoulders will still be wet from their tears.

Savoring The Sweet Moments of Life

TheDiscipleMD

There is nothing quite like eating some of your mother’s,  fresh out of the oven, homemade bread that is smothered in butter and honey. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! My boyhood memories of doing so are still as fresh in my mind as the bread my mother made back then. I could never figure out how to eat hot bread and honey without getting some of the honey on my fingers, hands, and sometimes even my clothes. The balancing act of keeping the bread level was almost impossible. Consequently the honey always seemed to find a corner of the bread to escape from. Eating hot bread and honey has always been a messy situation. Still, even with sticky fingers, the honey was still sweet tasting, be it off the bread, or off my fingers.

Life is oft-times like eating bread and honey. It can get pretty messy at times, but there is so much sweetness to it! At this moment in our life,  some of us might find ourselves in “sticky” situations. Perhaps things are not going our way. Maybe we want more out of life than what she has been willing to give us. For some their situation brings on depression as they look about and see others who seem to have “everything”, while, to them, they seem to have nothing or very little. I think most of us have times in our lives when we feel that way. But…I think it is important to remember that we do have a loving Father who knows and watches over us. Perhaps that knowledge doesn’t take away the pain of our sufferings, but I do think it eases it.

My hope is that we will remember to be grateful to the Lord for, if nothing else, life itself! This world is a wonder to live in. It is messy and sticky like honey on bread, but it has such a sweetness to it. Small things can bring bountiful blessings into our lives if we allow them to do so.  This morning one of my little granddaughters was playing on my bed. I ruffled her hair and she gave me a toothy smile. I rewarded her with a kiss! It’s not much, but moments such as those are just too sweet to forget…so we shouldn’t! Those sweet moments abound in everyone’s life and they come from many different directions. They are as unique as the colors in the rainbow.

I won’t be tasting any of my Mom’s hot homemade bread with honey ever again in this life, as she has passed on. But I’m sure we will share that joy again…someday! But, I can taste the memories and recall the sweet moments I spent at the table by her side. We can all be grateful for such moments!  May we look for them and savor them so that their lingering  taste will provide sweetness to our souls whenever bitter things threaten to poison our souls.

 

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