Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Parable of the Talents

  During his ministry Jesus Christ taught many parables.  One of my personal favorites is the parable of the talents. (Matthew 25: 14-30)  In the story a man entrusts three of his servants with his money.  He gives unto one five talents, to another two, and to the last one.  Two of the three servants go trade and invest with the money that has been entrusted to them.  The other servant however is embarrassed because his master only gave him one talent so he goes and buries it, to hide it from the world.  The servants then return to their master to report on what they have done with the responsibilities given them.  The two servants who traded and invested the money doubled what they had before.  When their master heard this he said, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."  The other servant because he had hid his talent came unto his lord with even less then he had before.  When he told his lord this, his lord was angry with him, calling him wicked and slothful, and then cast him out from his presence.

  There are many things we can learn from this parable, but the thing that has always struck me when reading it is the many opportunities our Heavenly Father give us to prove our trustworthiness to him.  We, like the servants, are given things that we have responsibility over.  These things could be our responsibility to obey the commandments or an opportunity to help another.  This is essentially the purpose of life itself, to prove that we are capable to handle the few responsibilities given to us in this life so that we can earn the things that our father in heaven wants to bless us with in the next.  I hope someday that we will all get to hear that congratulatory phrase, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Great Lawgiver

  Most human beings believe in the concepts of right and wrong, and of good and evil.  Who decides though what is good and right?  Most people I have met have differing views of this concept.  For example in a college dormitory you will have some people who find it acceptable to take his roommates food without asking and others who think that it constitutes stealing and is almost unforgivable.  On a more serious note there are also those who adhere to the philosophy that murderers should be sentenced to death to protect society from it happening again and others who believe that no crime necessitates the need for the shedding of more blood.  I will not pretend to have the answers for either scenario, however we see now the need for a higher power in deciding what is wrong and what is right.

  Alma posed asked his son a profound question in the Book of Mormon, "How could he sin if there was no law?"- Alma 42:17  If good and evil exist there must be a law upon which these concepts are predicated.  Lehi also had some interesting thoughts concerning this matter, "And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God."-2 Nephi 2:13  In conclusion there is no God without a law of good and evil and inversely I would say that there is no good and evil without a God to lay down these laws.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Power of the Atonement

  Many people have heard of Jesus Christ and his atonement.  Many people however do not realize to what extent the atonement can play in our lives.  The Book of Mormon teaches us many things concerning the atonement.  One of the first Book of Mormon prophets, Nephi teaches us the importance of the atonement plays in the forgiveness of sins, "Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered."-2 Nephi 2:7  We learn two important things from Nephi here.  First, that it is through the atonement that we are able repent of our sins.  Second, that the atonement applies to all men as long as they humble themselves before the Lord.

  There is another aspect of the atonement that many people do not realize.  Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet, taught this concerning the atonement, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.  And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."-Alma 7:11-12  We learn from this that the atonement is not only for those who have sinned and need to repent (which we all need at some point) but it is also for those who need comfort and guidance. 

President Boyd K. Packer gave a talk concerning this subject at a BYU devotional:

I love how he says that there is nothing in our lives that the atonement of Jesus Christ can not fix.  I have seen this in my own life and I am grateful to have such a loving father in heaven who gave us the means to return to him and for his son who gave his life for us. I leave my own testimony of the power of the atonement and that it can cause life changes in any who seek out its blessings.