Monday, May 2, 2016

Mission President - Aspiring to Honors of Men

Dear Elders and Sisters,

One day, as Jesus and his disciples were walking to Capernaum,   the disciples were having a private argument. When they arrived, Jesus   asked them: "What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the  way?"  They were embarrassed to tell him because "they had disputed  among  themselves, who should be the greatest." (Mark 9:33-34)

The desire to have praise, recognition  and worldly power is a  natural human weakness, but it is a  dangerous trap. It is like walking  down the streets of Manila during a  rainstorm. When you step in a  puddle of water, you don't really know if  it is a centimeter deep, a  meter deep or two meters deep. If the  puddle is a centimeter deep you  can keep walking with no problem. If it  is a meter deep you can suffer a  serious injury. The trap of worldly  praise and power is 100 meters  deep and can wreak destruction on your  soul.

During the Council in  Heaven before the world was created, Satan  fell into this deep hole. He  rebelled against Heavenly Father, saying:  "I will do it; wherefore give  me thine honor." In contrast, Christ  said: "Father, thy will be done,  and the glory be thine forever."  (Moses 4:1-2)

As you study the life of Jesus Christ you will see a remarkable,  consistent message. It is remarkable because Christ was the most pure  and powerful person ever to be born on the earth. If anyone had the  right to receive praise, recognition and worldly power it was Him. But  He consistently rejected it every time:

-After fasting for 40 days, Satan came tempting him with food, power,  worldly wealth and worldly glory. Christ humbly resisted, saying: "Get  thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy  God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matthew 4:1-10)

-When He healed the sick, He often asked them to keep it quiet. Even  after raising a young woman from the dead "...he charged them straitly  that no man should know it..." (Mark 5:42)

-He was approached by a man whose son son was possessed by a terrible  spirit. As he was talking to the man, a large crowd began to gather. He  quickly healed the boy "And they departed thence, and passed through  Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it." (Mark 9:17-30)

Jesus not only set the example himself, He also taught against the trap of seeking praise and power:

"Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love  greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues..."  (Luke 20:46)

"Moreover, when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad  countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto  me to fast." (Matthew 6:16)

"Behold   there are many called but few are chosen. And why are they  not chosen?   Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of  this world and   [they] aspire to the honors of men..." (DC 121:34-35)

"And  also he [William W. Phelps] hath need to repent, for I the Lord, am not  well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not  sufficiently meek before me." (DC 58:41)

How Does This Apply To Us?

Of all people that should NOT be affected by this temptation it  should be missionaries. You have give up everything: school, work,  family, popular music, friends. You work hard, 7 days per week, for 18  months or 2 years. You spend your days studying the gospel, talking to  strangers, being rejected, walking hour after hour, giving selfless  service.

However, it applies to you just like it did to the disciples of  Christ during his life. Even missionaries are tempted to think that  being called as a  leader should one of their goals. Even missionaries  can think that being praised or respected by others is important. Even  missionaries can, from time to time, lose sight of the fact that it is  God we are serving and no one else.

Sometimes our families make this even more difficult. It was the same during Jesus'  time. "Then came to him the mother of [James and John] with her sons,  worshiping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto  her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons  may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy  kingdom." Sometimes your family or friends set expectations for  recognition and success that are false. They equate leadership  responsibilities with success. It was not true at the time of Christ and  it is not true now.

We need to resist every temptation to fall into the hole of aspiring to the "honors of men."

When his disciples were "moved with indignation" because of the  request of the mother, Jesus taught: "Ye know that the princes of the  Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise  authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever  will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be  chief among you, let him be your servant."

Then He uses himself as the example: "Even as the Son of man came not  to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom  for many." (Matthew 20:20-28)

I invite each of us to follow the example and teaching of the Savior. When asked what is the greatest commandment, he taught:

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with  all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...And the  second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:36-40)

This is how He lived His life: loving God and loving us. He followed  His Father with exactness and devotion and He gave everything, including  His own life, to save us.

We will be blessed as we serve only God and our fellow men, not our own desires for praise or power.

Thomas asked him "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

This is a question all of us should ask.

And for all of us the answer is the same: "I am the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:5-6)

Let us humbly serve God and our fellow man, without the desire for  recognition or authority. Let us love them as He loves them, with a  selfless, pure love.

Mahal na mahal po kayo,

President Creg Ostler

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