Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Worth of Souls

Today, I was planning on posting an article I'm writing about Joseph Smith, the prophet. I was more than half finished before we went to Church, but I wanted to share what happened at Church. And the article about Joseph Smith will be up in the next few days.
On the first Sunday of each month, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to fast for twenty-four hours and give the money they would have spent on food to the needy. In conjunction with fasting, we also hold a testimony meeting in which no sermons are prepared and members from the audience stand and share their testimonies about Jesus Christ, the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, and other aspects of the Gospel.
This was our first Sunday in Tyler and was also the testimony meeting for our ward. Before the services started, I noticed an older gentleman walk into the Chapel. His white hair was short and combed back, and he wore a well-trimmed moustache and goatee. He wore a grey-and-black, striped shirt with short sleeves, blue jeans, and white sneakers. His forearms were covered with colorful, both in hue and design, tattoos; his left elbow was surrounded by a green spider web, and his right elbow had a small target on it. And I suspect the tattoos didn't stop at his elbows.
Naturally I wondered how he had found his way to Church, but I was pleased to see him.
After the administration of the Sacrament, the bishopric turned the time over to the congregation for the bearing of testimonies. Imagine my surprise when the older, tattooed gentleman stood and made his way to the pulpit.
"My name is Larry," he began. "Last week I brought my girlfriend here, and she asked me why I would take her to a place like this. To answer her, I guess I need to answer why I'm here. The past is the past, and ain't nothing we can do to change it. But I know I can change my future. I've been mixed up in crime, prison, drugs, prostitution, you name it. And I know I need to change. I have a friend who said this is the only Church where she felt she was a part of a family, instead of just being a member. That's my testimony. Thank you, Amen."
After Larry finished his testimony, the words of Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith came to my mind:
Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.

And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.

An how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth.
Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-13.
Upon remembering these words, the Spirit of God filled my soul, and I felt a portion of the joy that our Father in Heaven and our Savior, Jesus Christ, must be feeling for Larry. Like the prodigal, Larry has seen there is bread enough and to spare in his Father's house. And the Father has been waiting with outstretched arms to welcome Larry home.
Truly, the worth of a soul, no matter how stained with sin, is great in the sight of God, for we are all His children. And He will welcome us home if we turn to Him.
May we remember our worth and the worth of those around us and may we be like Larry in turning to our Heavenly Father is my sincerest desire.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

1 comment:

Lulucarrot said...

All I can say is AMEN!