Having a Willing Heart and a Contrite Spirit
(Mission “farewell” talk given in the Pine Valley Chapel sacrament meeting on January 12, 2014 by Frank E. Davie)
Sister Davie and I are thankful for the opportunity that we have to share a few thoughts with you this morning. Prior to opening my notes of which I have prepared, I wish to take a moment and share a few things with you.
As I look over the congregation, I recognize many who have recently come into the Church. I wish to thank each one of you for your love and support and for all that you do in behalf of missionary work here in the Branch. This is something that is a little risky to do, as I do not want to leave anyone out.
First of all I see Joe & Linda Russo. As I watched Joe pass the sacrament this morning I thought how special it is already that he has so much embraced the gospel. It has meant a lot to him. I also reflect on all that took place when we gathered as a Branch at the St. George Temple when he and Linda went to receive their own temple endowments. What a special day that was.
I look at Sister Melody Windover and her daughter Sophia, also her sister Abbey and their father, Jay who are not here this morning. We had the privilege of being in their home as missionaries and to teach them the gospel and to be a part of their being baptized. Sister Windover has just received her first calling in the Church to be a teacher in the Relief Society. What a blessing she will be.
This morning, as we sat here at the front of the chapel, Elder Nick Jensen came up to say, “Hello Captain Davie”. I had not seen Nic for probably 30-35 years and here he is with his wife wearing a black name tag serving their mission. He was in the same military field artillery unit where served together. I always felt that is was a very good unit. Nic would you please stand? Nic was part of the Motor Section in our unit who served under Sargeant Alma Whipple, a man who has passed away now, of whom I have respected for many, many years. He was truly a man of honor in so many ways. Thank you Elder Jensen for being here this morning.
Brothers and Sisters, it is a privilege to wear the black name tag. As a convert to the Church at the age of 19, I did not serve a mission as a young man who would normally have done so. However, we are now looking forward to this blessing, this privilege of wearing the black name tag.
There is one person who is not here today that wanted to be, Bishop Linn Mills. He was our Bishop in Las Vegas and was such a kind and generous man. He has wanted so much to be here, however was too ill to make the trip. Dave and Corrie Ford certainly know who I am talking about. We love him so much.
It was Isaiah, a prophet in the Old Testament that said, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the Lord’s house will be established in the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.“ He had seen the gathering of Israel in these the latter days. (Isaiah 2:2)
Isaiah went on to say, “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes. (Isaiah 54:2).
And then later he stated, “But now, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are all the work of thy hand”. (Isaiah 64:8)
There is also another wonderful scripture in the Old Testament as shared with us from the Book of Jeremiah: (Jeremiah 18: 1-6)
1 “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
2 Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying:
6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord, Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. “
Brothers and Sisters, are we not all in the hands of the Master Potter?
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “Yours…is the privilege of standing in the shadow of the Redeemer of the world as we carry forward this work. Yours is the opportunity to speak of the beauty of the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in behalf of his sons and daughters. Could there be a greater privilege than this?
“Rejoice in the privilege which is yours. Your opportunity will not last forever. Too soon there will be only the memory of the great experience you are having. None of us will accomplish all we might wish to. But let us do the best we can. I am satisfied that the Redeemer will then say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Sharron, (sitting in the congregation) earlier in this talk, I have wanted to say that I wish I would be here on the day that you get baptized! I hope that you take what I say in the right spirit? (Sharron, has been taking the missionary discussions and has so much to offer; sure nice to have her come to Church this morning).
One of Elder Monson’s favorite books is titled, “The Mansion” by Henry Van Dyke.
The story described the effects of “a life of wretched selfishness”. The book tells of a wealthy man, John Weightman, who gave only “those coins which would be seen of men and honor those accorded him”.
Then one night he (John Weightman) dreamed that he visited the Celestial City, where he was given a tiny, dilapidated hut in which to live. Feeling that this was unjust, because in his own eyes he had lived a successful life, Weightman inquired of the Keeper of the Gate, “What is it that counts here?”
“Only that which is truly given”, the Keeper replied.
“Only that good which is done for the love of doing it.”
“Only those plans in which the welfare of others is as the Master taught.”
“Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater that the reward.”
“Only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself.”
This very example calls up the images of Elder Monson walking down dimly lit hallways or hospital corridors, visiting the poor, the widows, the needy and the sick.
President Monson goes on to say, “Perhaps when we face our maker, we will not be asked, “How many positions did you hold? but rather, “How many people did you help?”.
“One can never love the Lord until he serves Him by serving his people.”
We all have favorite General Authorities as members of the Church. While each one of them are very special for sure, for some reason we may have a favorite or two. Many years ago, one of my favorites was Elder Marvin J. Ashton. Back then, as we served in leadership positions, he came as a visiting General Authority to organize a new stake (LV NV Central/East Stake) . One week prior to his coming, he invited each of us bishops, to pray and fast and come prepared to share with him, three names of those who might serve as the new Stake President. What an experience that was. I will never forget being called into his office for just those few minutes and share with him what I had received.
Here is what Elder Ashton has said, “Let us communicate in words and deeds our concern and love for one another. Threats, ears that do not hear, eyes that do not see, and hearts that do not feel will never bring joy, unity and growth.”
Elder Marvin J. Ashton
President Heber J. Grant also shared with us, “We may not be perfect in obeying our covenants, but we must make a steady effort to be true. If we are striving, if we are working, if we are trying to the best of our ability, to improve day by day, then we are in the line of our duty. If we are seeking to remedy our own defects, if we are so living that we can ask God for light, for knowledge, for intelligence, and above all for His spirit, that we may overcome our weaknesses, then I can tell you, we are in the straight and narrow path that leads to Life Eternal; then we have no need to fear.”
Just a few other quotes to share with you:
Benjamin Franklin quoted: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The only way to have a friend is to be one”.
James Keller: of which I thought was a pretty good quote….”A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle.” and finally,
Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, the importance of our mission…we have nothing to fear. God is at the helm.”
Brothers and Sisters, in closing, every one of us as members is a missionary. We have so much to offer. I would like to bear my testimony of which I know will be hard to do. I know that you already know what my testimony is. We are all working together to accomplish His work. May we go forward with a desire to do our very best.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.