This past week we have had the opportunity of listening to and watching the CES Fireside, that most of you got to see in the states back in September. We just barely got the DVD. Now I do not know how many of you may have had the opportunity to hear this fireside, or heard about this fireside, but if you did not get to hear it, go to LDS.Org and pull it up and watch it. It was the Sept. CES Fireside and Elder Holland was the speaker.
The theme was "Israel, Israel, God is calling" and he talked about our responsibilities as the modern day Israel and what we must do to build Zion.
He told several stories and had several examples of what we are required to do to be disciples of Christ, but one particular story, really hit me, because I remember the event he referred to and I remember how angry it made me when I heard about it. Let me see if I can relate this to you and do it justice.
Remember several years back, there was a young man who played Basketball for one of the College teams in the state. Well his skills were not really needed by that team at that time, so with the good wishes of his coach and team mates, he transferred to another team, outside of the state. Well, as luck would have it, he soon became a starter and star for that team. One of the games they happened to play that year was against the young man's former team. The games was played in the Delta center, and as this young man entered and played that evening, he had all kinds of obscenities yelled at him, he was booed, had things thrown at him. It was terrible. His coach, after the game said to him, "what is going on here, you are the hometown boy, that has made it big. Aren't these people your friends?" and then this chilling question came from his coach," Aren't most of these people members of your church?
Well the next day, it was all over the papers, and people were calling for a public apology from the fans, who showed such poor sportsmanship. One fan was quoted as saying,
" Hey, this is basketball, not Sunday school, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the fire, we paid good money for our seats, and we can act the way we want, WE CHECK OUR RELIGION AT The DOOR",
It was at this point Elder Holland made a really impressive point, he ask this question "WE CHECK OUR RELIGION AT THE DOOR?" And then he said, very powerfully, WE NEVER CHECK OUR RELIGION AT THE DOOR, NEVER, AND NO TRUE DISCIPLE OF THE LORD, JESUS CHRIST WILL EVER, CHECK HIS OR HER RELIGION AT THE DOOR.
This is something I have felt very strongly about for a long time, We are members of this church and represent the Savior,24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK !!!!!!!!!, Not just when our team is winning, or it is convenient,
People watch and judge us, and through us, the Lords Church. We are HIS representative, all the time, not just when we want to be.
It is not easy, but anyone that wants the right to call themselves a Disciple of Christ, knows it is worth the effort, because we ALWAYS REPRESENT HIM, NOT OURSELVES.
It takes constant effort, it takes constant repentance, and trying harder to be better, it takes prayer and scripture study, and keeping the Sabbath day Holy, going to church every Sunday, even when it is Stake Conference and General Conference, or we are on vacation. It means being an example to our families and our friends in everything we do, even when we are on vacation, or at a sports event or anywhere. It is truly meaning the primary song, " I am trying to be like Jesus"
Next time, you are about to do something that would not be representing the Savior and HIS church very well, ask yourself. Am I really trying to be like Jesus? Because, whether you like it or not, as a member of HIS church, people are watching, all the time. You may not think what you are doing, saying, thinking, wearing, drinking, eating etc, is a big deal, but the Coach that asks this young man the question " Aren't most of these people members of your church?" was not a member of our church and judged the church by what he saw and heard that night.
How many people have seen you break the Sabbath day, or maybe not seen you, but know where you were on the Sabbath day, instead of church, use fowl language, gossip, wear immodest clothing, or dress your children in immodest clothing, lose your temper, etc. I could name a million things, we all do them. And here is a thought, even when we don't think any one we know is watching us, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE WHO KNOWS EVERYTHING WE DO, YOU CAN'T HIDE IT FROM HIM !!!!!!!
I do not mean to sound judgmental ( by the way he covered that pretty well also), or cause offense in anyway, and if you are offended, than please follow the counsel of another Apostle of the Lord, Elder Bednar and Choose not to take offense, because none is intended. Elder Hollands whole talk was powerful, and I think everyone should listen to it, or watch it. It really made me take a good long look at myself, and see that I am not the person, I would like everyone to think I am. Everyone makes comments to us about how great we are because we are serving a mission, but we are not any different from any of you,if anything, being on a mission has pointed out even more flaws, than I already knew I had, which were a lot. I have a lot of repenting to do, I have a lot of work to do, so I can answer HIS call, and I need to really remember that " Israel, Israel, God is calling" He is calling each of us to step up and be HIS representatives, wherever we are and whatever stage of life we are in. WE NEVER CHECK OUR RELIGION AT THE DOOR, not the door to our car, not the door to work, not the door to the movie theatre, not the figurative door to vacation, not the door to our own homes, not any door, real or figurative.
HE is calling us.
ARE WE ANSWERING HIS CALL?????