Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Parable of Two Sons

As I began reading in Matthew 21, I imagined what it might have been like to show Jesus Christ honor and adoration as the multitude did " spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from trees" and placed straw on the path that the donkey would carry Him through the crowd as they shouted " Hosanna, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." ( Matt.21:8-9 ) 

As I continued reading however, I began to realize that the kind of honor that this multitude was showing Christ was good, but not the extent of honoring that He hopes for us all to show Him. 

I was impressed especially by His message to the Chief Priest and Elders at the temple.

Jesus gives a parable in which two sons were asked by their father to go to work in his vineyard. The first of his sons answered that he would not work in his vineyard, but later he repented and he went to work in his vineyard. 

The second of his son he also asked to go work in his vineyard, this son said yes, he would work in his vineyard, but he " went not " .

To end Christ asked the Priests, " Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, the first. Jesus saith unto them, verily, I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you." ( Matt. 21:28-31 ) 

From this parable I realized that the honor and adoration that Jesus Christ is teaching us to give is our work in His vineyard as we keep our baptismal and temple covenants. 

These Jewish Priests were supposed to be those great religious leaders of their time, yet Christ explains through this parable that just because a person is a member of His church - it does not make them immune from the danger of becoming a Sabbath Day Christian. 

We may go to church on Sunday, lead in our callings, and even serve in various areas; but if we are not like the first son whom repents and gives our all His vineyard beyond Sunday worship, then we would be better off being as he explains " a publican and harlot " that has not made covenants to serve the Lord, but once they do, they do so wholeheartedly. 

As we read the recent General Conference talk , " Are you Sleeping through the Restoration " by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf we can see that we are living in time that is just as exciting as the time that Jesus Christ did ride upon that donkey, and His admirers celebrated Him. 

We learn in Uchtdorf's talk that we may be sleeping through our great and exciting times with in our our realm of history. 

I hope, pray and seek that I can do His work in His kingdom that is here upon the earth in a manner that would be pleasing to Him and allow Him to desire for me to close to Him after I die. 

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Here is my favorite excerpts from his talk : 

"There is too much at stake for us as individuals, as families, and as Christ’s Church to give only a halfhearted effort to this sacred work.

We Are Living in the Time of the Restoration

Sometimes we think of the Restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us—Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he received priesthood keys, the Church was organized. In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes “all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,” and the “many great and important things” that “He will yet reveal.”2 Brethren, the exciting developments of today are part of that long-foretold period of preparation that will culminate in the glorious Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
This is one of the most remarkable periods of the world’s history! Ancient prophets yearned to see our day.
When our time in mortality is complete, what experiences will we be able to share about our own contribution to this significant period of our lives and to the furthering of the Lord’s work? Will we be able to say that we rolled up our sleeves and labored with all our heart, might, mind, and strength? Or will we have to admit that our role was mostly that of an observer?
I suppose there are a variety of reasons why it is easy to become a bit sleepy with regard to building the kingdom of God. Let me mention three major ones. As I do, I invite you to ponder if any might apply. If you see room for improvement, I ask you to consider what could be done to change for the better.


First, selfishness.
Those who are selfish seek their own interests and pleasure above all else. The central question for the selfish person is “What’s in it for me?”
Brethren, I am sure you can see that this attitude is clearly contrary to the spirit required to build God’s kingdom.
When we seek self-service over selfless-service, our priorities become centered on our own recognition and pleasure.
Past generations had their struggle with variations of egotism and narcissism, but I think today we are giving them serious competition. Is it any coincidence that the Oxford Dictionary recently proclaimed “selfie” as the word of the year?3
Naturally, we all have a desire for recognition, and there is nothing wrong with relaxing and enjoying ourselves. But when seeking the “gain and praise of the world”4 is a central part of our motivation, we will miss the redemptive and joyful experiences that come when we give generously of ourselves to the work of the Lord.
What is the remedy?
The answer, as always, lies in the words of Christ:
“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”5
Those who wholeheartedly turn their lives over to our Savior and serve God and fellowman discover a richness and fullness to life that the selfish or egotistic will never experience. The unselfish give of themselves. These may be small gifts of charity that have a grand impact for good: a smile, a handshake, a hug, time spent in listening, a soft word of encouragement, or a gesture of caring. All these acts of kindness can change hearts and lives. When we take advantage of the unlimited opportunities to love and serve our fellowmen, including our spouse and family, our capacity to love God and to serve others will greatly increase.
Those who serve others will not sleep through the Restoration.

Competing Priorities

A third obstacle that prevents us from fully engaging in this work is the many competing priorities we face. Some of us are so busy that we feel like a cart pulled by a dozen work animals—each straining in a different direction. A lot of energy is expended, but the cart doesn’t go anywhere.
Often we devote our best efforts in pursuit of a hobby, a sport, vocational interests, and community or political issues. All these things may be good and honorable, but are they leaving us time and energy for what should be our highest priorities?
What is the remedy?
Once again, it comes from the words of the Savior:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”8
Everything else in life should be secondary to these two great priorities.
Even in Church service, it is easy to spend a lot of time just going through the motions without the heart or the substance of discipleship.
Brethren, we as priesthood bearers have committed to be a people who love God and our neighbor and who are willing to demonstrate that love through word and deed. That is the essence of who we are as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Those who live up to these principles will not sleep through the Restoration."
- April 2014 - Dieter F. Uchtdorf - Priesthood Session 

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