Monday, August 10, 2015

8-10-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

The Christlike attribute that I have selected for us to consider this month is humility. This is truly a misunderstood virtue. A dictionary in the mission home suggests that to be humble is to have a low opinion of oneself, to be unassertive, to have a submissive nature, to rank low in a hierarchy or scale, and finally, to be modest or unpretentious. The first two definitions I disagree with entirely, the next two could easily be taken out of context and construed as weaknesses, and only the last two I find acceptable, but still far from capturing the complete essence of a Christlike characteristic.

As with all of the Christlike attributes, the Savior himself is the true exemplar who both embodies and expounds upon his teachings. When James and John ask Jesus for the privilege of sitting at His right and left hand in the day of His glory, He patiently explains how greatness in God’s kingdom is achieved. I love the Lord’s gentle reminder that “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will by chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20: 26-28). Elder Bruce R. McConkie teaches us, “It is not the position occupied, but the service rendered; not the office held, but the call magnified; not the rank enjoyed, but the labors performed; not the pre-eminent station attained, but the spiritual diligence exhibited; not where one sits with reference to the King, but the love and obedience shown forth to him” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 565). 

From the oath and covenant of the priesthood we learn that unto those who magnify priesthood callings (and I believe this pertains to both men and women) Christ has said, “all that my Father hath shall be given unto him” (D&C 84:38). It does not specify that those who serve in certain capacities will receive more than others. It simply states that all who serve faithfully will receive all that the Father hath. As natural men, our mortal minds are so constrained by selfish and prideful desires to aspire, compete, or attain that it is often difficult to accept that all could be equally compensated.

I invite you to study the parable of the laborers in the vineyard as recorded in Matthew 20: 1-16 and share with me your thoughts and insights regarding the Lord’s own explanation of how his workers will be compensated. You may wish to also study Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s great conference talk, “The Laborers in the Vineyard” from the April 2012 general conference.

May we ever follow in the humble footsteps of the Master, and serve without thought of reward, recognition or position.

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Humble Champions

PS. We had only five baptisms in the mission last week, for a total of 11 so far in August. I believe that the typhoon resulted in some of our baptisms canceling. I hope that those who were week A dropouts can be helped to set a date in the near future and stay on track for baptism. We still have three weekends left in the month and 44 individuals with week A, B, or C goals. Let’s work hard, exercise our faith, and do all that we can do in order to receive miracles at the Lord’s hand!

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