Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What Lack I Yet?

In General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints last month, Elder Larry R Lawrence gave a talk entitled What Lack I Yet?  This talk touched my heart and caused me to do a lot of reflecting on things that need improvement in my life.  Those of you that know me intimately will have not trouble helping me create a long list of items and traits that need improvement or total and complete change.

In the Sermon on the Mount the Savior taught “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”. [Matthew 5:48]

President Joseph Fielding Smith said It is my duty, it is yours, to be better today than I was yesterday, and for you to be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were today. 

The above scripture is a beautiful goal but one that seems out of reach.  However, the statement by President Smith helps me to keep perspective.  I am capable of improvement.  I am able to be better today than I was yesterday.  I am able to recognize the poor choices I have made and strive to make better ones today and in the future.

When President Sorenson, my Stake President set me apart almost 6 months ago as a missionary he gave me a blessing.  I know this blessing came from my Father in Heaven.  President Sorenson knows me quite well but I don’t think he knows that I am a very impatient man.  God knows and the blessing of patience from him came not one time, not two times but 5 times.  My Father in Heaven knew that I would need to exercise patience in everything from the speed of the internet to the traffic in the Philippines.  From my ability to do things as quickly as I want to having people understand what I am trying to teach them and then to accept it and make the changes necessary to improve their lives.

When I was home, working and enjoying my family I was not focused on one task like I am in the Philippines.  Cathy and I work 7 days a week with regard to Self-Reliance.  We study, we pray, we visit, we teach, we listen and we pray some more.  All day and all night we think about ways to help people become self-reliant.  We worry about those that don’t have good clean drinking water. We worry about those that don’t have enough good food to eat.  And then we go to work and try to help them find ways to improve and get more income for the necessities of life.

So now we come to “What Lack I Yet”  I am working hard, I study, I pray, I serve and I pray some more.  I ready my scriptures, I study them and I pray some more.  So why do I have troubles.  Surely the Lord wants me to be successful.  Surely He wants all his missionaries to be successful.  So I took the challenge from Elder Lawrence.  “What do I need to change?”  “How can I improve?”  “What weakness needs strengthening?”

I have some family members very close to me that have been upset with me for some time and choose to not include me in their lives.  This hurts me deeply.  I try to make things better but nothing seems to bridge the gap.  This too is part of my question “What Lack I Yet”.  The son of my brother Wayne who passed away almost 10 years ago told me that it was up to me to help keep our family together after my Mother died.  This motivated me to try even harder.  I took his words seriously and continue to try and pray for inspiration of what I can do. 

All of this and more is part of my personal quest to improve and find what flaws I can work on to improve. 

I have a small book that a good friend recommended to me several years ago called TO DRAW CLOSER TO GOD by President Henry B Eyring.  It is a collection of discourses and is full of insights.  I picked it up this morning and started reading again.  Not really considering what I have been praying for and not really looking for any answers, just a good book to read for a while in my morning studies.

The second discourse is entitled Listen Together.  Here is the part that really touched my heart and I thought of what I have been praying for, “What Lack I Yet”

What the scripture calls a “humble and contrite heart” has always been exemplified for me in two paragraphs from the autobiography of Parley P. Pratt. Perhaps it touched me because I admired so much the strength of Elder Pratt and also because I like so little to be rebuked. Here is the first paragraph of the two—I will have to break between the two because you need a little background.
After journeying for several hundred miles up the Platte, we at length met two messengers from the pioneers under President Young, from Salt Lake Valley. These were P. Rockwell and E. T. Benson; who had been sent out to try to find us and report our progress and circumstances. Having visited all the camps, they returned to the valley, or rather to where they met the President and pioneers, on their way back to Winter Quarters on the Missouri. I accompanied them back nearly one days’ ride on the way, and then bid them God speed, and returned to my own camp. Soon after this our fifty met the President and company of pioneers and camped with them one day.
Now this is where you need a little background. For a moment, think of yourselves as Parley P. Pratt. He was leading a hard, hard march. He was doing the best he knew how. He was an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was meeting his leader, one with whom he had been in great difficulties. Elder Pratt saw himself as an experienced man, as indeed President Young was experienced.
Can you young men now picture yourselves having a priesthood interview with your elders quorum president? He is going to talk to you about what you have been doing. You have been working hard. Aren’t you prepared for a little praise? Wouldn’t you like him to tell you how wonderful you were?
Parley P. Pratt had arrived in Winter Quarters after President Young and the Quorum of the Twelve had made some very specific arrangements. Elder Pratt had taken a look at the plans and thought he could do better. He changed the arrangements. He did not know that—at least according to one of the other members of the Twelve who had been there—they were a decision of the Council and were revelation. Listen to Parley P. Pratt’s description of that day with his priesthood leader.
A council was called, in which I was highly censured and chastened by President Young and others. This arose in part from some defect in the organization entered into under the superintendence of the President before he left the camps at Winter Quarters; and of variously interfering with previous arrangements. In short, I was severely reproved and chastened. I no doubt deserved this chastisement; and I humbled myself, acknowledged my faults and errors, and asked forgiveness. I was frankly forgiven, and, bidding each other farewell, each company passed on their way. This school of experience made me more humble and careful in future, and I think it was the means of making me a wiser and better man ever after.[Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1985), pp. 330–31]

I have learned a lot from my study today.  My prayers and my desire to be better today than I was yesterday and better tomorrow than I was today motivate me to work hard and improve relationships with family, to have more patience, and to be a better servant of the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. I think your quest for patience began about ten years ago when I entered the scene. :-) Thank you for the thoughts and the lesson. Always appreciated.