Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Power of Knowing "Why" - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf - General Relief Society Meeting

My dear sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father in Heaven, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come. The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us.
While understanding the “what” and the “how” of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the “why.” When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet. 
Let us not walk the path of discipleship with our eyes on the ground, thinking only of the tasks and obligations before us. Let us not walk unaware of the beauty of the glorious earthly and spiritual landscapes that surround us.  
My dear sisters, seek out the majesty, the beauty, and the exhilarating joy of the “why” of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
The “what” and “how” of obedience marks the way, yes, and it keeps us on the right path. But the “why” of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration.  
—President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I noticed something while he was speaking. He didn't tell us what the "why" was. He told us to seek it out. I think that's because explaining it in words isn't enough; it doesn't do the trick. It's one of those things we have to find for ourselves, and feel for ourselves, before it'll make any difference in our lives. Just like we can be told repeatedly that God loves us, but until I believe and feel in my heart that God loves me, it's not going to have much influence in my life.

I can testify about some areas of the gospel where knowing the "why" has made a difference.

One is visiting teaching - visiting two or three girls I've been asked to visit and strengthen, at least once a month. It wasn't until my mission that I began to understand why we visit teach. Satan is real, and he is working hard to bring us down. I realized on my mission that even the strongest people can be torn down spiritually if they let go of Christ, even a little, and even if it was accidental. Or if the people around them let go of them when they're in need of help. Even people who seem like they're doing perfectly fine may be struggling, and can be torn down. This life is hard and this world is scary. 

I realized how incredibly helpful it is to know that someone cares about you, and will maintain a consistent presence in your life.  When I visit teach, I know that my visit can bring more light into their life. And more love. I know that my visit can provide an added measure of strength they need in order to get through the next week. And I know that my visit to them is strengthening me as well.

Imagine if everyone did their visiting teaching - every sister would have a friend. Every sister would know that she was loved and cared for. Every sister would be accounted for. Every sister's needs would be made known to whomever could help them the most. If we all reached out to each other, by each of us focusing genuine special attention on our two or three sisters we've been asked to visit, we could all raise each other up to a higher level.

Christ ministered to the one. Through visiting teaching I have a beautiful opportunity to do that as well.

The scripture I would use to best try to explain the why of visiting teaching is Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 - "Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God."

That's just one area of the gospel. I don't think I've been able to adequately explain what I feel about why we visit teach. But knowing why has made an obvious difference in my life, and changed the way I feel about it. It has become less of an obligation and more of a passion. It has "transform[ed] the mundane into the majestic."

What are some areas of your life that have been transformed by understanding why?

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

This is awesome. His talk was awesome. I think I'll go catch it on youtube.