Sunday, May 14, 2017

To the Uttermost

I am using the topical guide in the scriptures to study about Jesus Christ this year. It's been a really good experience. I've learned about Him being the Bread of Life, about Him becoming our father as we receive His gospel, and other things. I'm now reading about Him as our Advocate. This is the first scripture in that section, and I love it:

Hebrews 7:25 - Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

I know that God is a God of both justice and mercy. But I have recently been feeling in my heart the importance of focusing on His mercy, at least when it comes to emulating Him. I am imperfect, and prone to making mistakes and misjudging situations, so I know I have the potential to mess up mercy and justice in my own life and relationships. If I am going to mess up, I would rather be too merciful than too just.

This scripture touched my heart, and reminded me of some beautiful words from Elder Holland, given in general conference in April 2012:

"Which leads me to my third and last point. This parable--like all parables--is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats. This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.

I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable, but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.

Whether you are not yet of our faith or were with us once and have not remained, there is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord."

Let's not give up hope on ourselves, or anyone else.

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