July 14 Sacrament Talk – Say Yes

The following is the text of the talk I gave in sacrament meeting today.

Two weeks ago we had ward conference and I have pages and pages of notes about it. Some of the notes are scripture references, some of them are quotes from the speaker and some of them are thoughts I had during the conference – I did not write down the ones where I was thinking that it was a mistake to skip breakfast, in case you are wondering.

I was lucky to be able to attend some additional meetings. One began at 10:15 AM with our extended ward council and the stake representatives and presidencies. One was after church with the Bishopric, the Stake Presidency and Brother DeFriez. Some people groan at extra meetings but I love them. It is often an opportunity to get a little more personal, a little less general, and focus on specifics. Also, I have  a lot to learn and plenty of places to grow and so it is an opportunity to sit with leaders I admire and learn more from them.

There was a thought I had come into my mind near the end of the second hour of church that day. By this time I had been in about 3.5 hours of meetings. The thought was, Are you saying Yes, And or are you saying yes, but? I knew exactly what that meant when I had the thought.

Somebody was talking and they were telling a story. I don’t remember who it was or what the story was but I remember thinking that whatever they were Saying would work for the person they were referring to because they….who even knows what the rest of the thought was but I can tell you it happens to me too often. I’m sitting in a class and a teacher is telling a story from someone’s life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scriptural person, a historical person or someone alive today. Let’s look at Nephi for example. His family leaves their home. They take tents and stuff they need to survive and leave the rest of the stuff behind. They are out in the wilderness after walking for days ant his dad says go back to the city and get …whatever thing they have to go back for now…and Nephi says, “I will go and do the thing that the Lord has commanded because I know he giveth no commandment to the children of men save he has prepared a way for them to accomplish it.” And I think to myself, of course he would say that because his dad is a prophet. Also, he saw the vision of the tree of life plus a whole bunch of other stuff but I’m not sure I am good enough….

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what the story is, my first thought is often that there’s no way I could do that because I am not as good, as spiritual, as free, as hopeful, as rich, as positive, as close to family, as loved….seriously, it can go on and on.

Lisa Jibson who is a long time friend of mine and currently serving in the Stake Relief Society presidency, made a comment in that second hour class and I remember it because it is something she told me before. She said, a long tome ago when her kids were small she was in Relief Society and the clip boards were being passed around and she passed them along thinking she couldn’t do whatever it was. She had little babies. And then the next week they were coming by again and she actually stopped for a minute and thought about it. I’m not going to get her words exactly right but basically what she said was she thought doesn’t she believe that the Lord will help her? She decided right then and there that she was going to begin saying yes and then figuring it out. She wrote her name down to bring dinner to a family. When she got home that day she started to panic and think what had she done? How could she possibly bring dinner to the family since she had a conflict on that day. But she called a friend and told her about the predicament. The friend was very happy because she had wanted to help but couldn’t make a meal but she could definitely deliver it. So Lisa made the dinner and her friend delivered it to the family. I can attest that she does say yes more often than not. Lisa is always serving somewhere or someone. And I also happen to know that even though conflicts arise she is always able to find a way to follow through with what she said she would do plus her house is tidy and she studies and visits and even has social time. I know that because we’ve been friends since we served in Young Women together more than 15 years ago.

This brings me back to the thought I had in our joint meeting last week. Up until the point where Lisa changed her thinking she was more like me. Yes, I want to help but because of these reasons I can’t. She changed her way of thinking to yes, I want to help and I know that the Lord will help me to find a way to do it.

Now remember how I said that my first thought is often yes, but. The good thing is I usually pause there and really think it through. I think the danger is when we stop at the but and don’t even take a moment to think that the “and” could be a possibility.

Do we believe Jesus when He tells us that He will help us? Or do we think He doesn’t mean me, or that this isn’t important enough to ask for help with or all of those other things that really turn out to be excuses to not say yes.

Let’s go back to 1 Nephi 3:7

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Here is an opportunity for me to say but and not think any further….technically that scripture isn’t talking to me when I decide not to sign up to help in the current service project or temple trip or storehouse assignment because those aren’t commandments…are they? Except aren’t we commandment to love one another? Strengthen one another, Lift up the hands that hang down, minister to and serve those around us?

Malachi 3:10  says

Bring ye all the atithes into the storehouse, that there may be bmeat in mine house, and cprove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not dopen you the ewindows of heaven, and pour you out a fblessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

It’s easy to dismiss this scripture because we can stop at the first phrase and think this only has to do with tithing. But does it? The Lord is saying to just try it. Prove me. You put in a little effort and you will have plenty of blessings for your little contribution.

I remember when I was first baptized, and I think it’s useful to think back to that time if you didn’t grow up as a member of the church. It’s also useful for those who grew up in the church to think back and remember when you decided for your self that this was where you wanted to be. Sometimes I think that perhaps I have an advantage as a person who chose when I was nearly an adult to be baptized because I know the exact moment I decided and for someone who came up through primary and the youth program the line might not be so clear.

I remember feeling elated and as if I were going to help the world to be saved and I was willing to tell anyone who stood still long enough. I was working hard to serve well in my first callings. I knew I was serving the Lord by serving the people in my ward. I was visiting those sisters my age who I was assigned to visit. I remember being all in.

And then some time went by and I made some choices that weren’t the best choices and I allowed those choices to take me away from church because I wasn’t sure how to fix things and I didn’t feel worthy of being in church and I continued to live what I considered the easier life for a while. It was along time of yes, but… Except that the people in the local ward in Pennsylvania somehow found me even though I had moved after I stopped attending church while living in California. How do they do that? Magic. I was assigned home teachers and a visiting teacher who were dedicated. I had the same people for years. And they came regularly. And for 4 years each time I was invited to church I put them off. And they never stopped coming back and they asked about me and my kids and we chatted and I grew to love them and trust them. And then one Saturday night before Easter the missionaries showed up at my house and invited me to church and I had no idea at the time that my visiting teacher had sent them but I finally said yes and I went to church with a tiny Brittney and a tiny Chelsea and recommitted that day.

Once again I was all in. I got a calling and I was doing it the best I could. I was the teacher development leader and we had meetings once a quarter on a Thursday night and I was teaching lessons out of the how to teach manual and we had a pretty good turn out because I would go to each teacher the Sunday before and make sure they knew about the meeting and how important it was.

I have recommitted several more times over the last 28 years. I lose steam or something and some time goes by and I realize what’s happening and I have to change some things. I believe that happens to all of us periodically.

One of my favorite scriptures of all time popped out of the book of Ether while I was reading the Book of Mormon after I came back to church in 1992 after that 5 year absence.

Ether 12:6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that afaith is things which are bhoped for and cnot seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no dwitness until after the etrial of your faith.

I know this is true. I have had plenty of blessings in my life because I just decided to say yes and move forward with the faith that it would all work out in the end.

Today I want to invite you to change your mind just a little. To recommit. To trust that what the Lord tells us all through the scriptures and during every General Conference and ward conference and stake conference and sacrament meeting and Sunday school and relief society meeting and priesthood meeting is the truth. That he will help us accomplish His work. That we can do it with his help. We just need to begin moving forward and things will work out right. Consider all of the people you could bless if you just said yes with no excuses.

Matthew 19:26 says But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

What would have happened if I had said no to this calling when it was extended to me a little over 3 years ago? I’m not sure that you all would know the difference but I know how this calling has blessed my life and that saying yes was one of the best and scariest things I could have done at the time. It’s been the same with every calling I’ve put my heart into…even the nursery. Good and scary with opportunities to grow and become more like the person God wants me to become little by little. The most beautiful thing happens when I say yes and mean it. As soon as I begin with the assignment or the calling or service of some kind or whatever it is, when I add that thing along with the people who are involved in that thing I begin to get inspiration. It’s funny because when I am praying for my own personal stuff the inspiration and answers seam hard to come by but when I am at the Lord’s work I feel like he is there next to me helping me to see what’s next.

Start with your ministering assignment. Pray for those people each by name that you will know how you can help them best. Then call those people, visit with them show them that you love them. And then say yes when you are asked to visit with the Relief Society Presidency or Elder’s Quorum presidency members. Those meetings are meant to help you and are not an opportunity to make you feel guilty in any way.

Start saying yes and you will find that time seems to expand so that the things that are most important will be accomplished. You might have to put off cleaning the bathroom(I’m not referring to any of my cleaning skills there) I might have to put off sewing that new dress but the important stuff will be accomplished. And we will feel joyful and our capacity to love will expand. I promise. And I can promise that because not because I have any special power to bless you but I know because I have experienced it for myself over and over again.

I know that God loves you and He wants to help you to be more. I also know that the way to get there is by serving others and saying yes when opportunities to serve present themselves.


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