When I was in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and addressed us in a worldwide broadcast to each MTC in the world (there are 17 of them). I will never forget that night, as I had the opportunity to perform in the Missionary Choir (which is one of the most powerful and spiritual experiences I’ve ever had with music), and the words that were spoken have changed my life, and will continue to help me on my “mile”…
Elder Andersen talked about selflessness, service, and sacrifice. As a missionary, those are pretty much the 3 words you would hope people would use to describe what you do, and how you behave. But what people forget is that we’re still human. However, Heavenly Father doesn’t forget that, so He gives us our amazing mission presidents, the White Handbook (the missionaries guide to success), Preach My Gospel (the text book of missionary work), and the Scriptures (the Word of God) to help us as we serve for these 18 months or 2 years.
What I’m getting at is:
I totally fooled myself in thinking that I was 100% prepared to serve. I’m not talking about a repentance issue, or anything super serious like that would cause me to be unworthy to serve. That’s not the problem. The problem was that I had overlooked the necessity of living the Law of Sacrifice.
Elder Andersen asked one of his missionaries who served while he was a mission president in France, many years ago. The Brother he had participate and share stories with us was so humble, and so sweet. What I loved most was a quote by Elder Andersen, as he was questioning this Brother about the sacrifice of missionary work. He said:
“We sacrifice what we love, and we love what we sacrifice for.”
What an amazing principle. I testify that sacrifices are hard to make… I never, ever would have expected what my sacrifice would be, but what I do know is that obeying this Law (and for those who have been to the temple, have covenanted to obey) brings blessings we may not see until the life to come. But I know that because I took an incredibly hard step in showing my faith to God, that He will bless me. He’ll take care of my sacrifice, and whatever is meant to be will be. I know that when we sacrifice what we love (whether it be a person, a thing, a hobby, an organ… whatever!) that God will accept it and bless us when it is truly a sacrifice for us to give it to Him. The Bible Dictionary says:
“Sacrifices were thus instructive as well as worshipful. They were accompanied by prayer, devotion, and dedication, and represented an acknowledgment on the part of the individual of his duty toward God, and also a thankfulness to the Lord for his life and blessings upon the earth (see Gen. 4:3–7; 8:20; 22:1–17; Ex. 5:3; 20:24).”
If we want to run the best “mile” we can, we have to sacrifice. Do we have to know how everything will turn out? No, because then it’s not a true sacrifice. Sacrifice is an act of devotion. It’s putting the things that matter most to you in God’s hands, and doing your part to be worthy of the blessings that come from that action. I know it’s hard, and it is really painful at first to A- Realize what needs to be sacrificed, and B- Give it up. But I do know without a doubt, that this is something everyone can benefit from.
So, my question to you: What can you sacrifice? What is that one thing that would truly show God how much you love Him and desire to serve Him first in all things?
I promise as you fast, and ponder, and pray, and then act upon the answer you receive, that you will see miracles. You will be blessed, and your relationship with God and the Savior will grow more than you can ever imagine.