Among the richest blessings Janna and I receive weekly here in Zambia is the opportunity to watch the worldwide missionary devotional.
Leaders of our church spiritually uplift the 50,000+ missionaries scattered throughout the world by teaching the doctrines of Christ, sharing personal experiences, and offering words of encouragement. Often, wives and husbands as members of our church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles address the missionaries.
A few weeks ago, Sister Susan and Elder David A. Bednar were front and center. Rather than stand behind a pulpit and share prepared remarks from a teleprompter, the Bednars sat together and taught us as if they were sitting in our living room.
The Bednars strongly encouraged us to take notes, but to write what the Spirit said, not what they said. This column is my take from these two excellent gospel teachers.
Elder Bednar urged us to not get hung up on “Am I being prompted by the Spirit, or is it my personal thoughts and feelings.” He said when we “go about doing good” we will later look back and see how the Holy Ghost directed our actions and words. Personally, I loved hearing this. Too often, I stumble upon thoughts of “Was that the Spirit prompting me to do this? Or are those just impressions of my own thoughts and desires?”
He also noted that in most instances, we will not readily see the direct results of our actions. The Bednars referred to the story of Nephi in the Book of Mormon returning to obtain the brass plates from Laban. “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things I should do.” Elder Bednar advised that when we act without knowing it does not mean we simply wing it. “Winging it is lazy.” We should be prepared, but follow the Spirit. Action always comes before we are blessed with power to do what is right.
The Bednars invited missionaries at the end of the day to pray to know when God intervened. I noted that it would be wise for me to ask before retiring to bed, “Have I seen the hand of God in our lives and the lives of our children?”
We should always be dependent on God and trust him, they advised.
Sister and Elder Bednar also advised us to be careful of being too critical of ourself. I know I often tell myself I should have done this sooner or if I had to go back and do it again, I would do it that way. We should always learn from the past, but is it really necessary that we habitually second guess our best efforts?
The Christmas season is an ideal time to “Go about doing good,” as Sister and Elder Bednar advised. As we near the celebration of the birth of our Savior, it is the ideal time for us to implement the words of one of my favorite hymns:
“There are chances for work all around just now, opportunities right in our way
Do not let them pass by, saying ‘Sometime I’ll try,” but go and do something today.”
Charlie Roberts and his wife Janna are currently serving in the Zambia Lusaka Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.