Monday, January 18, 2010

GC Recap #11 - Stewardship: a Sacred Trust

Elder Quentin L. Cook began with this account, "Recently a group of highly respected Jewish leaders and rabbis visited Church facilities in the Salt Lake Valley, including Welfare Square, the Humanitarian Center, the Family History Library, and the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple open house. At the conclusion of their visit, one of the most eminent rabbis in America expressed his feelings about what he had seen and felt.

"He cited concepts from Jewish thinkers rooted in the Talmud and pointed out that there are two very different reasons people engage in acts of kindness and generosity. Some people visit the sick, assist the poor, and serve their fellowmen because they believe it is the right thing to do and others will reciprocate and do the same for them when they are in need. He explained that while this is good, builds caring communities, and should be considered a noble reason, a higher motive is when we serve our fellowmen because that is what we believe God wants us to do.

"He stated that as a result of his visit, he believed the Latter-day Saints undertake welfare and humanitarian efforts and the work of salvation in our temples in order to do what we believe God wants us to do."

He then taught, "With respect to our stewardship for our families, some have taught that when we report to the Savior and He asks us to give an account of our earthly responsibilities, two important inquiries will relate to our families. The first will be our relationship with our spouse, and the second will be about each of our children.

"It is easy to confuse our priorities. We have a duty to secure the physical safety and well-being of our children. However, some parents place undue priority on temporal and material possessions. Some are far less diligent in their efforts to immerse their children in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember that having religious observance in the home is as important as providing food, clothing, and shelter. Parents can also help children discover and develop their talents. We are responsible for the talents we have received. Children who are not taught that they are accountable for their time and talents are increasingly subject to the foolishness and unrighteousness that are so pervasive in the world. The family proclamation warns that individuals “who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.”

Parenting is sometimes, well most the time very overwhelming. It is by far the most rewarding thing we do, but nonetheless it is still overwhelming. There are so many things I know that I need to work on and try to perfect. It seems as I am working on one thing that needs attention, another sometimes falls by the wayside. It is so easy to get discouraged.

Yesterday in sacrament meeting a sister was speaking on a paragraph in THE FAMILY: A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD and she reminded us that no one can parent our children better than we can. Our children were sent to us. Heavenly Father knows us individually and know that we are the best person to fulfill the needs of our children. This touched me so much. Too often I find myself comparing myself to other mothers, and I always seem to come out on bottom. But my children need me and all my mistakes as I learn. Not to say that I don't need to try and improve on a daily basis - but they need me as their mother!

Elder Cook also said, "When the rabbis visited Welfare Square, they were touched to learn that even in difficult economic times, our members, concerned about the challenges experienced by many, continue to donate generously to help the poor and needy.

"Some feel guilty because they cannot meet every need immediately. I love the quote Elder Neal A. Maxwell often used from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.” King Benjamin taught, “See that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.” But he added that we should be diligent.

"My heart rejoices as I observe the Saints all over the Church doing everything they can to provide Christlike service wherever there is a need. Because of member contributions, the Church can quietly and quickly, without fanfare, respond to needs all over the world."

I love that we belong to a church that is service oriented. I love that we all have ample opportunities to serve those around us and those far away who we will never meet. I was recently called as the compassionate service leader in our ward and it has been so fulfilling. I think we forget how much service can bless us spiritually.

Elder cooks ends by saying, "My hope is that each of us will review individually and as families the steward ships for which we have responsibility and accountability. I pray that we will do so knowing we are ultimately accountable to God and that in this life we will be adhering to the unenforceable."

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