I gave a talk in church today..... I am not the public speaking type. Here is a copy of my talk. Through the computer you will not get the benefit of my shaky voice, my peering down at my paper to read it or any of the other "benefits" of my lack of public speakin ability, but here goes.....
Hello Brothers and Sisters. My name is Jaclyn M*******. Brother Benedict called me last Sunday. That was a call I wished I hadn’t answered because during that call he asked me to speak to all of you today. The topic I was given is How Attributes of Christ if emulated will help us in our lives, or how when used in life will make us happier. He also said I should take a few minutes to tell you about my family…. Bear with me folks this could be a bumpy ride.
Like I said, my name is Jaclyn M*******, and I met my husband Kevin when I was 12 years old. I was investigating the church when I heard about a fundraiser for girls camp working at a pumpkin patch. He told me that very first day we met that he would marry me someday. I thought he was insane, but I guess we know who won that one. We got married 5 and a half years later, and we have been married for 10 amazing years. We have 3 beautiful girls. Kaitlyn is 6, and she is going to first grade next year. Brittany is turning 5 in July, and she will be starting kindergarten. Alyssa, the baby of our family just turned 2 last month. You may also know my parents, Debra and Gordon. They also live with us, and we are one big happy family.
Enough about that part of my family. Let’s move on to another important family member of ours, Christ. When I began doing research for my talk I came across a talk by Dieter F Uchtdorf given back in October 2008 called Christlike Attributes. During the first portion of his talk he asks us…What are the basics, the fundamental principles of our membership of the kingdom of God on Earth? After all is said and done, what will really carry us at times of greatest need to our desired eternal destination? These questions caused me to stop and ponder what my answer would be.
In the April 2011 addresses, Lynn G Robbins of the seventy gave a talk entitled What manner of men and women ought ye to be? He says “may your efforts to develop Christlike Attributes be successful so that His image may be engraven in your countenance and His attributes manifest in your behavior.” This seems so profound, and yet so simple. If we continue to try to be Christlike in our behaviors, eventually we will actually be like Christ. It sounds so simple yet I’m sure it challenges each and every one of us everyday. Robbins goes on to say…”To be, or not to be” is actually a very good question. The Savior posed this question in a much more profound way, making it a vital doctrinal question for each of us: “What manner of men and women ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Nephi 27:27)
I personally find that to be an honor. He is allowing us to take on us His name and his nature. He is giving us a guide book to life that so many of us have desperately wanted. It is here… in the Scriptures, the words from our Prophets, and in answers to our prayers. We are so lucky to have a guide on how to live our lives. He may be testing us, but he has provided us with an answer key. All we have to do is take the time to study it.
Speaking to: “All those who have desired to bring forth and establish this work” (D&C 12:7) the Lord hath said “no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care” (D&C 12:8)
These are just a few of the many attributes Christ has taught us.
Faith: Alma Chapter 32 verse 21. This is one of my favorite scriptures, and it reads “And now as I said concerning faith, faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” For me this says it all. At night we may not be able to see the sun, yet we believe that it is there waiting to rise again the following morning. We learn this by experience. The sun is gone each night yet it returns the following day to bring us light. Having Faith in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ might not be as easy, but the concept is the same. We might not see them by our side, yet each time we need them, seek their guidance, pray or call upon them, They are there to teach us that even though we cannot see them they are always there. This brings me to another great scripture in James Chapter 2 verse 17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” To me this means that even though they may be beside us always, and already know our needs. We need to take action, show our faith, follow the Lord’s plan, and his blessings will pour out upon us.
Hope: Dieter F Uchtdorf addresses hope in his talk titled The infinite power of hope given in October 2008. He says “Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time. The scriptures are clear and certain about the importance of hope. The Apostle Paul taught that the scriptures were written to the end that we “might have hope.” Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. It’s absence- when the desire of our heart is delayed- can make “the heart sick”.” He refers to hope as an abiding trust that The Lord will fulfill his promise to us.
When you put it like that how can you not have hope? Hope to see lost loved ones again, hope to be an eternal family, hope that we were forgiven for all that we repented for, and most importantly a hope that we will get the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven again. Those are some things worth hoping for… far different from hoping for a better job, hoping for a vacation that has been long awaited or hoping for anything that is earthly. I never knew that much about Hope prior to last week, but through my studies I have a new appreciation for hope.
Charity: Often referred to as the pure love of Christ may come last in the saying; faith, hope and charity, but it should not come last in our hearts and actions. President Thomas S. Monson addresses charity in his October 2010 address titled Charity never faileth saying “rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life.” Later in this address he shares the following story which has stuck with me since the day I first heard it….
A young couple, John and Lisa, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched their next door neighbor hanging out her wash.
That laundry’s not clean! Exclaimed Lisa. Our neighbor does not know how to get clothes clean!
John looked on but remained silent.
Every time her neighbor would hang out clothes to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.
A few weeks later, Lisa was surprised to glance out her window to see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, Look John- She’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder how she did it.
John replied, Well dear I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning, and washed our windows.
I’m sure we have all been guilty of something similar in our lifetimes, but it seems to be a consistent fact that when we judge others we are really judging ourselves. At least for me it always seems to work out that way. The concept seems so simple, however, attaining Charity consistently in our lives seems to be a continual challenge for many.
I have personally seen the benefits of following these attributes Christ has taught us. The more I try to live by these, the more blessings that are laid out before me. Coincedentally, during these times I also seem to have more of what I refer to as challenges. I used to get very discouraged saying to myself. Why is it that the harder I try the more trails that come my way. During one of these pity parties of mine, a miracle occurred that saved the lives of many of my family members.
Last November, my mom fell and broke her ankle in 4 places also chipping it in 2 other places. The performed emergency surgery basically reconstructing her ankle, and putting in a 10 inch metal plate and 12 screws. This landed my mother in a wheel chair. I was sitting in the hospital waiting to hear if my mom had made it our of surgery when I got a phone call from my husband. In less than 2 hours from discovering that my mom would need a ramp built since she would be in a wheel chair. A sister from our ward came and got my kids, and 6 brethren came over and helped my husband construct a ramp to allow my mother access to our home. Several others, during the following week, came to help rearrange furniture (since my mother’s bedroom was now in my living room), brought meals, and everything else we could ask for…. Surprisingly this is not yet the miracle just fellow church members teaching me these Christlike attributes first hand.
In January we moved into the house we are now in. My mom insisted that my dad sleep downstairs where he would be most comfortable, and she would continue to sleep upstairs. She assured him that it wouldn’t be long before she would be able to go up and down the stairs on her rear. My dad was unwavering in his decision that they would set up their bedroom in the den upstairs until they could both move into their house together.
My sister was supposed to be coming to visit less than a week after we moved in, but called us in a panic because her entire family came down with the flu the day before they were due to come down… We will all very upset, but decided it be best if she tried to come down another time.
This turned out to be a blessing because the day after she would have arrived…. Our heater broke. Did I mention this was in January? We were freezing. We called our landlords, and they sent out a guy later that day to fix our heat. It got nice and toasty in just a few short hours, but to our dismay once the heater shut off, it never turned back on. So our landlords brought us space heaters late on Saturday night and told us that we would have a repairman there by Monday morning. The repairman showed up, and began doing some testing. Within minutes of going downstairs to examine our broken heater he came running, yes running up the stairs. He had a gadget in his hand and walked over to vent in our dining room. He got a very grim look on his face and immediately ran back down the stairs, apparently to turn off the gas coming into the house. He came back upstairs and explained to us what was going on. Our heater was leaking carbon monoxide into our house. According to him a reading of 7 or higher means death especially for little kids. Our dining room was a 6. Downstairs was an 8. He informed us that had anybody spent a single night downstairs since we had moved in they would have come back upstairs in a body bag. That could have been: my dad, my sister, my brother, my niece and my 2 nephews. Who knew I would ever be thanking My Father in Heaven for a broken ankle and the stomach flu, but you had better believe that I was that day.
This is just one of the many example in which I thought I was going through a trial, but that trial turned into a major blessing.
I am so thankful for this church and the many lessons it teaches me. I believe that if we live by Faith, Hope and Charity our lives will be blessed. If we follow the Lord’s plan, our lives will turn out far better than anything we would have planned for ourselves. Life may seem hard at times, but if we are living the way we should be, our trials just might turn into blessing or even miracles. I love this Church so much. It has truly changed my life for the better, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN