Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Truth of God Shall Go Forth

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

The Truth of God Shall Go Forth, by Elder M. Russell Ballard
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

As full-time missionaries, we would stand and recite various scriptures and other quotes in our missionary meetings. In addition to the missionary staple D&C 4, were Ezra Taft Benson's statement on missionary work (from this talk), the Idaho Boise Mission Standard (based on 3 Ne. 5:13), The Standard of Truth (from the same letter as the Articles of Faith), and others. I recited these so often, and with such feeling, that I cannot help but think of my missionary service when I hear one repeated again.

Such was the case with Elder Ballard's address (but it would be quite difficult to not think of missionary work in this talk!), particularly when he read The Standard of Truth:

The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done. (History of the Church, 4:540)

It was exciting to hear the general and personal accomplishments in moving the work of the Lord forward—made even more exciting when I considered that I had helped in some small way through my service. Elder Ballard reminded that while we have had great successes, they weren't without challenges and difficulties. "Still, we moved forward in faith."

Yet, the work continues! President Monson started this conference with a charge for us to pray for the spreading of missionary work (read my reaction here) to penetrate continents, visit climes, sweep countries, and sound in every ear, as the Standard reads. Of this, Elder Ballard reminded:

This is God’s work, and God’s work will not be frustrated. But there is still much to be done before the Great Jehovah can announce that the work is done. ... We cannot afford to be comfortable or content.

What then should we do? Speaking of those faithful many who paved the way before, Elder Ballard proclaimed:

We need to believe as they believed. We need to work as they worked. We need to serve as they served. And we need to overcome as they overcame.

As we think of the pioneers and the legacy of faith they left us, we may find difficulty relating significantly to their hardships and trials, simply because our lives are so vastly different from theirs. Nevertheless, despite the contrasts, Elder Ballard offered insightful comparisons: defamation instead of mobs; various substance abuses and spiritual apathy instead of harsh weather and hardship; marriage and family under attack instead of uprooting of homes and loved ones.

The comparisons continued with a list of what we're being asked to do, compared to what was asked of those who went before. All were insightful, but the last resonated with me:

He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life.

As I contemplated on this last comparison, I remembered the thoughts that the works of C. S. Lewis stirred within me some time ago (read them in context here). After some thought, my conclusion and application remain the same, namely: sacrifice is significant if it is founded upon everyday decisions to do what is right and needful while striving for perfection (see Matt. 5:48). Christ is the perfect example of this—his infinite sacrifice would have been meaningless if not for his a perfect life.

I'm willing to die for many things. Does my life evidence a willingness to live for these same things?

1 thought:

Maryann said...

I love that quote of The Standard of Truth. When I hear it, I am filled with joy to go forward and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ has in fact been restored!