We Can

Recently through my scripture study I have been noticing more and more the agency that is woven within every part of God’s plan. It’s a new thing for me. It’s not that I didn’t know agency existed. From the very first lesson with the missionaries when I was 17 years old I was taught that there was a plan and that we could accept or reject it. That agency was so important to Heavenly Father’s plan that Satan was cast out of Heaven because, basically, he wanted to take away our agency.

There are words like words like can, may, choose, act for himself, according to your own will.

But these last few months as I have been reading and studying the scriptures and messages from prophets I have been struck by how these choices continue throughout our lives. Yes, we made the choice to follow Jesus Christ but each day we need to choose to become more and more like him. Finding things in each of our lives that need to be added or removed so that we can eventually be our best selves. The selves that only God can see at this point.

I am now seeing the word can in a different way. It has previously meant that I am able but now I am seeing it as an ability to choose. Of course one of the moset beautiful things about the language of God is that it has many meanings which are shown to us at different times depending on what we need.

It is not enough to decide to go to church every week and then do nothing further. It is not enough to just do the minimum. and honestly as we are on the covenant path and progressing in the gospel the minimum is probably always changing.

This week I was thinking about the parables that Jesus taught in chapter 25 of Matthew. These parables are not about followers of Christ vs nonfollowers. They are about members of His church making their own decisions and the consequences of their choices.

The Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)

In the parable of the ten virgins. the virgins who are described as foolish did have some oil in their lamps. their mistake was that they didn’t have extra. We have been advised forever to increase our testimonies through study and prayer and service. If we are basing all of our testimony on things that happened years ago when we were baptised or on our missions it won’t be enough. We need to have fresh oil. Testimony that we can draw on in the hard times. To get that fresh oil we need to always be working to replenish. It makes me think of a few years ago when I was going to the gym 4 or 5 times a week. I was strong and my stamina was great. Over the last 2 years I haven’t done any exersizing. Yes, I can still walk around but if the time came to run I would not be able to do it.

We need to keep working on building our testimony and faith. We need to choose our priorities each day and put our spiritual selves at the top of that list. Often doing that means that we will put service right up there because one of the biggest ways to help ourselves is through service to others. We make that choice each day.

The Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

In the parable if the talents we often think of talents as in being talented in some way but talents in Jesus’s time were money so we could think of this in a different way I think. Let’s start with how Wikipedia describes a talent:

talent (Ancient Greek τάλαντον, talanton ‘scale’ and ‘balance’) was a unit of weight of approximately 80 pounds (36 kg), and when used as a unit of money, was valued for that weight of silver.[4] As a unit of currency, a talent was worth about 6,000 denarii.[1] A denarius was the usual payment for a day’s labour.[1] At one denarius per day, a single talent was therefore worth 16 years of labor.

The master of the house is going on a journey and he entrusts portions of his wealth to his servants to care for while he is gone. When he gets back 2 of the servants have increased the value of what they had been given. One of them did nothing to increase his talent. he just hid it in the ground.

What if we are the servants in the parable and the valuable things we are entrusted with are the people around us. We are expected to build others up and gather them together and help them to become more than they would be without our care. What if the anger of the master is because we aren’t helping or caring for or serving those around us? Again, we have the choice.

The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

In this parable, at the second coming the sheep and goats are separated from each other. The sheep on the right and the goats on the left. Generally speeking, sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice and follow him. Goats are a bit more stubborn and don’t follow as easily and love to go off on expeditions even though they are also herd animals.

So in this parble the king explains why the sheep will be blessed. They served others. They fed them, dressed them, comforted them in their sorrow and hardships. He explained that each time they did that for someone eles it was as if they were doing it for him.

I can definitely see that. Think about your children or someone you love so much. Now think of a time when they were struggling and someone stepped in to help them. Weren’t you grateful to that person who helped and didn’t you feel love for them because of the love and service they offered your person? If we can feel that with our finite love, imagine how Jesus feels with his infinite love.

Once again service is the key here. We can choose to put service to others as one of our top priorities.

How to Serve

So often when we think of service to others we think of stepping in during tragedies, emergencies or something unexpected. Honestly, most days, nothing like that is happeing. But do you know what is happening most days? Loneliness, lack of friendship, confusion, overwhelm, hurt feelings, worry, and sometimes just a desire for understanding. When you look at that list how do you think you can help in those situations that arrise every single day? By being there, having a listening ear, showing true concern. Those things are easy. A phone call, a visit, a text message and following up if you don’t hear back. These are things that people need every day.

We live in a world where we all seem to be connected and yet so many are feeling alone with no one to talk to. Gone are the days of regular social calls. We all assume the others are ok while we struggle and the fact is we are all struggling in some way and could use a good friend.


In The Church if Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we have a safety net built in just for this. It’s currently called Ministering. We all have 2 friends assigned to us. And yes, at first it is an assignment but if you do it right it turns from an obligation to a deep friendship. Guess what happens when you get to that point? You get assigned 2 new friends. Whis is awesome because if they do that right you now have 4 great friends that you feel comfortable calling on or going to lunch with or just calling for the heck of it. The goal, in my mind, is that eventually we all are so interconnected with each other that we have our “hearts knit together in unity and love. (Mosiah 18:21)”

I’m sure when I study these parables again in the future I will see new meaning in them again but I love this new insight I had during this study at this time and I have all intentions of putting my new knowledge and understanding to work ASAP.

Let me know your thoughts. And in the mean time, if you are looking for a way to serve others you might want to check out the website at http://justserve.org. There are some great organizations there looking for volunteers to help them get their work done.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.