Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rejoice for Agency........week 73

Well family, my week has been a blur. I can’t really remember what happened. We had a ton of Conferences and Interviews and that means planning and running errands for me. But it turned out to be a rewarding week.

I had one really great experience with a man named Aquiles. He recently returned from Costa Rica and we began teaching him. His wife and daughters are all members and he has now come to church several times. As we have been talking about Baptism with him, there has always been one constant concern: he doesn’t want to fall away after baptism. I think it is a common concern because I have heard it several times in the mission. One is always scared to make covenants because with covenants come greater responsibility and consequences for not completing. I understand that one wouldn’t want to let the Lord down and so he may think that by not taking the necessary steps he is saving himself from future condemnation.

His concern stayed with me and when I was reviewing the talks from Conference, I received a revelation for him and for me. It was wonderful. Living Prophets do that. It happened as I was listening to President Monson’s from the Priesthood Session of General Conference. He said that God’s greatest gift to man is his agency but when he continued to talk I began to ponder on the eternal nature of agency.

Agency is a divine gift that existed before the earth life. While our options were few and our ability to further explore the freeing effects of such choice were limited, we enjoyed making decisions and some extent of progression. We decided in one point or another to accept God’s plan and come to Earth and experience life’s struggles and difficulties. That is when I realized what Aquiles needed. He needed to realize who he was and what decisions he had already taken before even being born. Every one of us before we came to Earth made the decision to be put in an environment where we could potentially fail. He once decided to come to Earth and we all even rejoiced in knowing of God’s plan as it explains in Job:

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

One might ask himself, why would we have rejoiced in knowing that the future would bring sin and heartache? Why would we have wanted to come to the Earth if we didn’t feel like we were completely prone to have success? The answer comes in the fact that we trusted in the Promise of the Savior. When Christ said, “Here I am, send me,” we found a way back. Only this time we would be coming back better and it would all be worth it.

The same thing happens in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We make covenants knowing that we wont be perfect but we know that God will help us along the way. We do our best and we know that His atoning sacrifice will let us come back daily. What He asks is that we keep His commandments and covenants. We explained this to him and I think it helped him realize how important baptism would be for Him.

I am thankful for our Heavenly Father that sent His Son to rescue us from the inevitable mistakes we would make. I too am worried from time to time that I make mistakes even after having committed myself to God. But I take solace in the fact that the Master has promised that as many times as one repents, he shall be forgiven.

Covenants in the end enable us to have more agency and unlock the blessings of Heaven in our lives. I hope that we can all take them seriously and that we can honor such covenants. We rejoiced once for the ability to come to Earth. We rejoice now for the covenants that make it possible to go back.

Adam fell that men might be. Men are that they might have joy. As in Adam all die, even so in Christ, shall all be made alive.

Elder Grant Russell