Thursday, March 14, 2013

The First Great Commandment

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

The First Great Commandment, by Jeffrey R. Holland
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

A few posts ago I bemoaned how hard it sometimes is to be different in living the gospel (link). While I tried to close with some meaningful view that my trials (which likely seem inflated) can help me in guiding others to Christ, reading Elder Holland's talk today made me feel a bit guilty—I felt as if I had been caught fishing.

I loved how Elder Holland took "nonscriptural liberty" in relating the account of the apostles' activities immediately following the resurrection—namely their intention to "go a fishing." He told of how they returned to shore after a uneventful night and were instructed by the resurrected Lord to cast their nets on the right side.

You remember how they caught "a great multitude of fishes" and Peter leaps from the boat and hurries to shore. There he finds Christ and is taught powerful lessons through a question repeated three times, "Lovest thou me?"


The fact that the apostles were fishers of fish again—no longer acting as fishers of men—despite claims of love prompted this reply from their Master (as translated by Elder Holland):

Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever.

My wife interacts with the Relief Society in our ward. Conversations I have with my wife often arrive at the same final conclusion: the work would go so much smoother and we could all accomplish so much more if everyone were willing to help!

I'm tempted to take the message I got from Elder Holland's words and turn them against those we associate with who seem to sit comfortably on the sidelines while many others are battling for our lives in the main event, but I won't. (I hope the previous sentence doesn't mean that I already have!)

Here's the boiled-down message I read from this message: If we really love the Lord, then we are well reminded that "the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty." What I take from this is that we don't manifest our love and devotion for God for a short time—while it's easy or convenient, say—we are supposed to be changed forever and loyal forever to the work the Lord needs us to do!

Again, it's tempting to shape this message into a spear and hurl it at those who appear to have forgotten how to serve, but what I want to do—what I hope I will do—is be like Peter and lovingly feed his sheep and save his lambs, including (and especially) those who have strayed from the fold.

If I can do this, I can remember and obey the first great commandment to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind."

Besides, fishing is kind of gross with slimy bait and stinky fish; lambs evoke softness and comfort.


Sheep and lambs sound much more enticing than fish!

0 thoughts