Friday, January 4, 2013

What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?, by Robert C. Gay
Of the Seventy

I remember hearing that there is a magic in three. I was told that some unnamed study found that when people do something three times, it is easier to keep it as a habit. I was told this with regard to missionary work and helping people come to church or come back to church.

The story was that if they either came to church for three weeks, or stayed away from church for three weeks, then it would be easier to keep the habit. The secret, I was told, was to help people come for three weeks and see how wonderful church is. Conversely, if they stayed away for three weeks, it would be hard to get them back.

This Sunday marks the third Sunday since we've been to our home ward, and I long to return; it really feels like I'm on the edge of slipping away if I don't get back to church! Let me explain: we flew to Utah for a family reunion over the Christmas holiday and were gone for two Sundays. To make things worse, we drove three hours to the airport and flew to Utah on a Sunday! We tried to keep the Sabbath feeling like the Sabbath, but it was hard because of the stress of travelling cross-country with four children. The second Sunday we only attended sacrament meeting because there were cases of strep throat going around the extended family, and we wanted to limit others' exposure to us, and our exposure to additional potential illnesses.

So this Sunday is the pivotal third Sunday. Will we return to church? Or will we slip away and ignore the pull back to church?

We'll be there early on Sunday, ready to serve!

As I reviewed Elder Gay's talk, I thought of our recent experience with being away from church. I can feel a void in my life because of our absence, and I know that no amount of extra sleep, trips to the beach, shopping, or yard work I might substitute for Sabbath observance could replace what I personally feel comes from the work and worship of Sundays.

Elder Gay shared a few moving stories, but the piece that stood out to me was something that stood out to him on a recent trip he took to Nicaragua. There he say a plaque in a modest home that read:

My testimony is my most precious possession.

He concluded his talk by saying that this is true with him, that his "testimony is [his] soul's treasure."

While we may not have a plaque like the one he described in our home (yet!), I hope to live so that the plaque in my heart (I'm speaking figuratively, not of atherosclerosis) reads:

I'll see you at church this Sunday! Then come the next two Sundays, too, because THREE!

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