Friday, February 24, 2012

Be careful what you pray for

At church this past week, President Mcbride asked me to speak in the coming Sacrament Meeting. I told him I’d be happy to, but then he told me to wait until he checked with his counselor to make sure the counselor hadn’t already assigned someone to speak. I never heard back from the President, so I assumed they already had assigned speakers. Earlier this week I received the following text message from the Elders Quorum President (He’s from the Philippines):

Hi bro. Daniel. Ds s bro. Leysam d EQ president. gud morning. how r u? By d way, I planned of asking u to teach d priesthd class ds coming Friday if only u r free. i undrstand ds s a very short notice and I would appreciate f u cud somehow manage. D lesson wil be d talk of Elder David Bednar during d Oct. Gen. Cnfrence on d Saturday afternoon session: "The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn." i wish to have your reply somtime 2day. thank u smuch. tk care

I agreed to teach the lesson and started preparing.

This morning (Friday) I got up and said my morning prayer. Among other things, I asked the Lord to help me be productive at church today. I asked Him to help me be an instrument in His hands. I have a hard time paying attention in church if I’m just sitting there listening. Well the Lord answered my prayer….quickly. A few hours after that prayer, I walked into the small villa where our branch holds our meetings. President Mcbride walked up to me and said, “You’re ready for your talk today, right?” Um, I told him I was teaching the Elders Quorum lesson. “But you’re giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting as well, right?”
Me: “You were going to get back to me about the talk. I assumed since I didn’t hear from you that you already had speakers assigned.”
President: Sigh “Can you just use your Elders Quorum lesson or find something else to speak about? We’ve already had one of the other speakers cancel at the last minute.”

I’m ashamed to say that I hesitated while the President stood there waiting for my answer. I had prayed that the Lord would use me in Church today and here I was hesitating to be used. In the end, I agreed. Of course, after I agreed I remembered my prayer from this morning (I apologized to the President after the meeting for my hesitation, and told him about my prayer. He smiled.). I also remembered a time many years ago when someone said that we should always be ready to give a 5-10 minute talk in case we were ever called upon in a case just like this one.

For three years now I’ve been carrying around in my backpack a really neat handout with many quotes about the blessings of worshiping in the temple. It’s one of my favorite handouts I’ve ever received. I decided to use it to talk about temple worship. To start my talk I explained everything I just wrote about (above) and challenged everyone to always have a 5-10 minute talk prepared, just in case. I told the brothers and sisters that it’s not President Mcbride’s fault for not getting back to me. It’s my fault for not heeding that wise counsel I received so many years ago.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. The last section of Elder Bednar’s talk is directed at the youth. Well, there wouldn’t be any youth in the Elders Quorum, so guess what; I also took advantage of my impromptu talk to give that part of the lesson in order for the youth to hear it.

Things turned out just fine and I was able to speak for about 15 minutes. They even asked me to help pass the sacrament today. Boy did the Lord answer my prayer. We also had a great discussion in Elders Quorum, even though in the past I would have considered a lesson on family history and temple work for the dead to be somewhat boring. Today was a good day. I learned. I’m also grateful for two amazing parents who gave me some excellent thoughts for my lesson.

Oh, after the talks and before we finished the Sacrament Meeting, the brothers stood and sang hymn #273 – Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses. We had practiced (one time) the week before so that we could sing for all (ten?) of the sisters in the branch. The Spirit was there and I think we may even have had some help from choir members on the other side of the veil. We sounded pretty good! What a powerful hymn.

Here’s the chorus of the hymn. I love it:

Blessed Savior, thou wilt guide us,
Till we reach that blissful shore
Where the angels wait to join us
In thy praise forevermore.

I like to change that first line into a question: “Blessed Savior, wilt thou guide us, till we reach that blissful shore?”

Moral of the story:

If you are able, never turn down an opportunity to teach/serve/learn.

Trust in the Lord.

Always have a 5-10 minute talk prepared.

Be careful what you pray for. ☺