We have just concluded the Saturday sessions of the 187th Semi-annual LDS General Conference. Tomorrow we will get to enjoy the final two sessions (10 am and 2 PM Mountain Time.
As usual, there were so many amazing talks and quotes and inspirational ideas that I’m on overload and cannot possibly share everything with you in one post.
So, I will share a couple things that were special for me today
The Conference Center Buzzed
In the Saturday morning session, when President Henry B. Eyring announced “and our concluding speaker will be Elder Jeffrey R. Holland” there was an audible, electric reaction of excitement! In fact, it was so pronounced that I looked at the choir sister sitting next to me and we both chuckled.
You could say, Elder Holland is a bit of a “fan favorite” of the church membership – especially with the youth. There are vast memes of Elder Holland’s inspirational quotes. He was the first apostle to directly talk about depression and mental illness, and humbly admit to his own struggles with depression in the past. It was, and remains, a ground breaking talk [see “Like A Broken Vessel“].
Elder Holland’s conference talks always center on God’s mercy, hope, empathy, and encouragement to “keep going, keep trying” – which let’s face it, we all need to hear! Elder Holland always has a way of hugging your heart so tightly that you feel like no matter how horrible things are right now, you can get up and face another day.
Elder Holland is our apostolic cheerleader. We know 100% that he loves us. And we love him 100% back for that.
Today, Elder Holland did not disappoint. His message focused on a scripture that has an ability to deflate us, and “make us want to go back to bed and pull the covers over our head.”
“Be ye therefore perfect”
At the end of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus concluded with the following charge: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:48
OK, that is a completely overwhelming command! How can we possibly be perfect?! No matter how we try, we are going to always fall short, and continually fail!
Elder Holland’s message today was that perfection is “still pending” during this life. Plain and simple.
None of us can “earn” perfection. It can only be given by God’s grace. In this life, we are not expected to become perfect (we can’t!), we are only expected to “strive for steady improvement.”
Make no mistake, Elder Holland firmly reminded that we are expected to live “disciplined lives”, without “dumb-ing down our standards,” and with a greater desire to become like Christ. While our perfection is pending, we have the reassurance that at least “God is perfect”. So, by his grace, as we grow and strive, we may become “perfect in Christ.”
Elder Holland shared Christ’s parable of “Forgiving 70 times 7“. The story is of a man who owed a tremendous debt to the King of “ten thousand talents.” The man could not pay, so he was going to be sold into slavery, along with his wife and children. After pleading for mercy, the King’s heart was filled with compassion and he forgave the man all of the debt. However, later in the day, a servant came to the forgiven man, and pleaded to have his small debt of “a hundred pence” forgiven – and the man refused and threw the debtor into prison.
In today’s American currency, Elder Holland explained what those biblical amounts would equate to. If the servant owed the man $100, then the man owed the King $1 Billion Dollars! The Savior illustrated his parable with such a huge amount to prove a point, that the debt was absolutely impossible to pay. Or, as Elder Holland quipped,
Nobody can even shop that much! 🙂
The King paid the incomprehensible debt of the man in the parable, just as Our King has paid our incomprehensible debt. We are freed from debtor’s prison. We are able to return to God, despite all our sins, shortcomings, failings and imperfection.
Hearing this message lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders personally. I really needed to hear this today. Elder Holland reminded us today of exactly what Christ has done for us, so that we do not have to despair and give up when we fail, fall, ugly cry, and crawl miserably along in our existence.
If we are trying and falling, we are not hypocrites, we are human!
“If we persevere”, Elder Holland promised, “somewhere in Eternity, [our perfection] will become complete!”
I’m going to hang onto that promise for myself, and my husband and my children and everyone that I love. I’m also going to hang that quote on my wall.
What a marvelous, joyful, life-saving promise!
I look forward to that perfect moment when I can be reunited with our Savior. I will clumsily fall at His feet and weep and thank him for the “unfathomable gift, purchased at an unfathomable price” – the debt he ransomed for me – and for you – for my family & loved ones – and your family & loved ones – and for all of mankind that has ever lived, or will ever live on this earth!
Let us speak and act and love and forgive and improve as close to God as possible. At least a ‘hundred pence’ worth!
After we have offered all we have, “at least a ‘hundred pence worth'”, then Christ makes up the difference.
Thank you Elder Holland for reminding us of the loving mercy of our King. Thank you for helping us pull the covers off our head, come out of bed, and walk forward again.
How very blessed we are!
Faith In Every Footstep
After Elder Holland’s talk, the Choir sang “FAITH IN EVERY FOOTSTEP,” and I have never felt the Spirit of God so strong singing that beautiful song as I felt it today. My eyes were filled with tears and I could barely see Brother Murphy conducting us… and I was filled with hope and love.
♪♪ With faith in every footstep, we follow Christ, the Lord;And filled with hope through his pure love, we sing with one accord. ♪♪
Watch More General Conference, here!