Serving here in Indiana as a senior missionary I enjoy listening to the younger missionaries relate the experiences they are having as they teach families about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it changes their lives, both the missionaries and the families they teach. I love hearing their testimony of how the individuals they are teaching learn to apply the atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives, enter the waters of baptism and then receive the Holy Ghost.
I am reminded of a young man that I taught when I was a young missionary in the Alaska British Columbia Mission. It was so long ago that Parley P. Pratt was my companion, LOL! It seems a long time ago, but it was only 44 years ago. This young man had no problem believing in the restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith. He loved reading the Book of Mormon and had a testimony that it was true, but he would not be baptized.
After many visits and questions on why he did not want to be baptized he finally said that he could not be baptized because his sins were so bad that he would never be forgiven. It was too late for him and there was no way back. We had a discussion about the atonement of Jesus Christ and he said that he believed in Jesus Christ but just felt that he was past redemption and beyond Christ’s reach.
In an Ensign article titled “Believing Christ”, Stephen E. Robinson said:
To have faith in Jesus Christ is not merely to believe that he is who he says he is. Both as a bishop and as a teacher, I have heard several variations on a theme of doubt. Some have said, “Bishop, I’ve sinned too horribly. I’ll be active in the Church, and I hope for some reward. But I couldn’t ever hope to be exalted after what I’ve done.” Others have said, “I’m weak and imperfect. I don’t have all the talents that Brother Jones (or Sister Smith) does. I’ll never be the bishop (or the Relief Society president). I’m just average. I expect my reward in eternity will be a little lower than theirs.”
“All of these are variations on the same theme: “I do not believe Christ can do what he claims. I have no faith in his ability to exalt me.”
“The great truth of the gospel is that we have a Savior who can and will save us from ourselves, from what we lack, from our imperfections, from the carnality within us, if we seek his help.”
Brother Robinson then told of an experience he had with his daughter. She wanted a bike and so he told her: “if she saved all her pennies, she would eventually have enough to buy a bike”. Then he forgot about it until she came to him with a jar of pennies and asked if they could go buy the bike. They went and looked at bikes and she finally found the bike she wanted. When she saw the price of the bike, she burst into tears saying she would never have enough money.
Brother Robinson asked how much money she had and she said: “sixty-one cents”. He told that if she would give him the money and a hug he would pay the rest. She rode the bike home as he drove slowly. He then said:
“As I drove beside her, I thought of the atonement of Christ. We all desperately want the celestial kingdom. We want to be with our Father in Heaven. But no matter how hard we try, we come up short. At some point all of us must realize, “I can’t do this by myself. I need help.” Then it is that the Savior says, in effect, All right, you’re not perfect. But what can you do? Give me all you have, and I’ll do the rest.”
How many of us, like brother Robinson’s daughter think we will never have enough to buy our bike or get into the celestial kingdom? Or like the young man that would not be baptized, think that we are too far gone for the Lord to forgive us?
I testify that we must not only have faith in Jesus Christ, but we must believe him when he says:
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) If we have the faith to cry as one father asked of Christ: “help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24), then we can all be saved by the grace of Jesus Christ.
I welcome your comments and questions.
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