Tuesday, 17 February 2015

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

This is my final talk before departing for mission. I didn't give it exactly as typed; there were moments I felt inspired to speak, in addition. Mostly in opening and closing.
7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

That is the promise given by our beloved Saviour. These are the words to which we cling; in trial, doubt, question, confusion, or unawares. This is the portion of the Gospel we, as Christians, have perfected… for the benefit of ourselves.

Let me clarify. When we ask, we ask for confirmation to that which we’ve already decided. When we knock, we knock in hopes that the doors we have chosen will be opened. For we know that when we ask, we will receive; and when we knock, it shall be opened. At least, that is what many of us do, even though – deep down – we know this isn’t what the Lord meant.

I’ll go where you want me to go. The message rings pure, and the humility sounds clear. We know that our Father knows best, and we know that His plan far exceeds any that we may have. Even though we may think we know better, even when all the evidence may prove contrary. In the words of our beloved President Monson:

“Ofttimes the wisdom of God appears as foolishness to men, but the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that, when God speaks and a man obeys, man will always be right.”

So when our Redeemer said, “Ask, and it shall be given you;” he truly meant it. Ask, and the answer, not yours, shall be given you. Knock, and the door, not the one you have chosen, shall be opened unto you. This is the promise He has given us, so that we may know the path by which we should follow. This is the unending grace, and mercy, of our Father in Heaven, to lead and guide us on this mortal journey.

In the hymn we just sang, I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go, we read the precious words:

“But if, by a still, small voice he calls To paths that I do not know, I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine: I’ll go where you want me to go.”

When I was younger, according to my mother, anything I asked for, I received. I’d pray to Heavenly Father with full purpose of heart, truly believing with all my heart that I’d receive exactly what I’d ask for, and sure enough I’d get it.

But it wasn’t too long before I’d be asking for answers to questions, and not merely for things to happen, things to come our way. And I remember a particular moment when Heavenly Father answered one such question, in a timing clearly not my own. Yes, this is yet another conversion story – but one thing I’ve learnt in my short period as a member is that this conversion is a process each of needs to work on day in and day out.

Long before my meeting with any missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I prayed for messengers to be sent my way. I prayed for answers as to where Heavenly Father would have me go and how Heavenly Father would have me be.

And sure enough, the answer came. By a still, small voice he called to paths that I did not know.

But I fell. Because I did not know, I turned to folly, expecting Heavenly Father to confirm what I’d already decided. Or much more accurately, what I’d let other voices decide for me. The door stood before me, but I would not knock. Not until I made the decision to step aside and have Him lead the way.

I’ll go where you want me to go, is what I decided; and even though I did not know, even though my mind had not yet been convinced, I answered my dear Lord with my hand in His. I went where he wanted me to go.

And I know many of you may be asking, what does this have to do with now? Everything. You see, by a still, small voice I was called to baptism, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; a path I did not know. But I decided to listen. In all my doubt, and in all my fear; in all my hesitance and uncertainty, I chose to listen to the words of God and ignore all else.

In the words of Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

In doing so, the Lord has blessed me immensely; with an understanding I could never have imagined, a confidence once thought of as impossible, and a mighty change of heart from opposing the gospel to defending it. The Lord truly does work in miracles and, when we choose to follow Him, they become manifest.

“It may not be on the mountain height Or over the stormy sea, It may not be at the battles front My Lord will have need of me. But if, by a still, small voice he calls To paths that I do not know, I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine: I’ll go where you want me to go.”

And it truly was that first covenant, even to take upon me the name of Christ in all places, wherever I may be, that propelled my desire to serve the Lord in any way that I could.

King Benjamin teaches us, in Mosiah 2:17:

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”

I began to share what I had experienced, what I had learnt, with absolutely anyone I could. I worked closely with the missionaries and learnt as much as I could; standing in awe of the knowledge and wisdom I was able to gather by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost.

I learnt pretty quickly that the mission field was where God wanted me to be. I prayed diligently, day and night, for the Lord to prepare me as best as possible, to turn me into the best missionary I could be, so that I could serve Him, serve His children and “labor through life’s short day For Jesus, the Crucified,” [4] as best as I could.

Through this, I was able to learn not only where the Lord would have me go, but also what he’d have me say. Yea, I learnt to speak with the tongue of angels, even the words of Christ. I learnt to preach the gospel and bear my testimony; to study out in my mind and to ask the Father, in the name of Christ, if those things be right.

Through His gift, even the gift of the Holy Ghost, I was able to have my tongue loosed and open to those who’d need to hear. For Nephi says, in 2 Nephi 33:1:

“…for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.”

I recall a particular encounter, which I’ve shared with some, where the Spirit prompted me to speak to a man to my left. From merely offering him a pen to openly discussing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I saw the profound impact it had on both me and him that day. Even when I speak to him today, I’m at awe in seeing the complete change it has had in his life.

“Perhaps today there are loving words Which Jesus would have me speak; There may be now in the paths of sin Some wand’rer whom I should seek. O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide, Tho dark and rugged the way, My voice shall echo the message sweet: I’ll say what you want me to say.”

We often claim that we are followers of Christ, going where He wants us to go, and yet we ofttimes find ourselves in situations we should not be in. Because, when we say ‘I’ll go where you want me to go,’ we’re referring to the spiritual journey as well, and not just the physical destination.

As important as it may be, even in my call to serve, the former carries more weight. Even if I were called to serve in any other field, my conduct should still be the same. I should continue, with a heart sincere, even if I were called to serve in Utah, USA. And I would. But we all know how glad I am that didn’t happen.

In Matthew 5 we begin to understand more of what Christ calls us to do, and more of what we’re actually committing to do when we say that we’ll go where He wants us to be.

21Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement: 22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Let our words, rather, be filled with love, and let us not be drawn to anger without cause.

33Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst make one hair white or black. 37But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”

Let us say what the Lord would have us say.

“There’s surely somewhere a lowly place in earth’s harvest fields so wide Where I may labor through life’s short day for Jesus, the Crucified. So trusting my all to thy tender care, And knowing thou lovest me, I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere: I’ll be what you want me to be.”

38Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41And whosever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42Give him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children on your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

This is what our Saviour would have us do. This is what our Saviour would have us be. And by asking, with a heart sincere, he’ll answer and show us the way. By knocking, he’ll open up the right doors. And His mercies will reign upon us.

I know, it isn’t easy; it seems like a lot, but I know that Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, loves us, and no commandment has been created save there be a way for us to fulfil it. Trust in Heavenly Father; I know I do. Seek to go where He wants you to go.

I am eternally grateful for the blessings He has given me. And as I close, I’d just like to leave you my testimony that I know Heavenly Father lives, that Jesus Christ is our Saviour and Redeemer. I look forward to serving Him in the Durban, South Africa mission field and have already been blessed enough to witness the fruits of diligent service and labour in the fields white already to harvest.

The gospel has been restored in these latter days and the witnesses are all around us. I testify to that, for I would not be sacrificing two years of my life to proclaim a gospel I did not believe was true. The changes can be seen. I am happier now than ever before because I know Heavenly Father has a plan for me, and even for you. Let us push forward, with a heart sincere, going where the Lord wants us to be.

In the name of our beloved Saviour, Jesus Christ,


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