Sunday, September 02, 2007

3 Nephi 13

Teachings of Christ continued

Give to the poor, but do it privately

Do not make it known that you give to the poor. Modern day application: pay your tithes and offerings privately (don't announce how much you pay).

In a broader sense, the Savior is also teaching us about motivation to serve. We should not serve to be seen of men. Rather we should serve because we love God.

In Elder Oaks first General Conference talk (Dallin H. Oaks, “Why Do We Serve?,” Ensign, Nov 1984, 12), he gave six reasons as to why we serve. From basest to noblest, the reasons are:

For earthly reward

For a personal desire to obtain good companionship

Out of fear of punishment

Out of a sense of duty or loyalty to friends or family traditions

Hope for an eternal reward (the joy of the fruits of our labor)

For "a more excellent way"; because we have charity - we love God and our fellow men

Pray to God. When you pray, pray in secret; when you pray, do not repeat in vain

Modern day application: pray every day privately. Find a quiet place to reflect, meditate and pray to God. Do not mindlessly say the same prayer and ask for the same things over and over again. Deliberately pray … honestly think about what you are thankful for and what you need from your Father in Heaven. Pray sincerely.

Elder Scott offered this counsel in his April 2007 General Conference talk, " Don’t worry about your clumsily expressed feelings. Just talk to your compassionate, understanding Father. You are His precious child whom He loves perfectly and wants to help. As you pray, recognize that Father in Heaven is near and He is listening.

A key to improved prayer is to learn to ask the right questions. Consider changing from asking for the things you want to honestly seeking what He wants for you. Then as you learn His will, pray that you will be led to have the strength to fulfill it." (Richard G. Scott, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2007, 8–11)

Forgive others

Modern day application: don't hold grudges. Don't be so easily offended. Give others the benefit of the doubt.

Fast to be seen of God, not of men

Don't let it be known that you are fasting. Modern day application: while fasting, don't complain of hunger pains and starving with others. Act as though the fasting day is like any other day. Be cheerful, but humble. For me, I should not complain of headaches. I should endure cheerfully and focus on the spiritual blessings of the fast.

Do not accumulate treasures on earth; lay up treasures in Heaven

Modern day application: find joy in the spiritual things of life. Do not let greed and materialism get a hold of your heart. Do not enter spending races with neighbors.

We can learn as much as we can or want to in this life. No matter what will happen, we will take that knowledge with us. It is ours to keep. Robbers cannot break in and steal it nor will it become corrupted by rust. If we render service, we will lay up blessings in heaven for ourselves.

Teachings of Christ to his Apostles

Don't worry about what to eat, drink or what you will wear

Use your whole efforts towards the teaching of repentance and God. Give your undivided attention to the building of the kingdom of God.

Seek first to build up the kingdom, and all other blessings will follow

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