8.15.2013

What is our Message?

I belong to a missionary church.  We are commanded to preach the gospel to all nations, to all people.  We are instructed that it is our responsibility to warn our neighbors.  And yet, how many of us are intimidated whenever we hear the words "missionary work?"  Why is that?  Most often the answers to this question are that we're worried we'll offend our friends or scared we won't have the right answer or say the right thing.  If those are the true answers, then the ultimate reason we are intimidated by missionary work is because we're thinking of ourselves more than the gospel.  In essence we tend focus more on making a convert rather than helping others come to true conversion.  Sometimes we focus more on the how to preach the gospel rather than the why. 

So, what is our message?  If we truly know the answer to that question and focus on that then maybe, just maybe, fears will subside and we can move forward with faith as the Lord intends us to do, especially here and now.

In Luke 22:32 we read that before we can preach the gospel we must be converted ourselves.  In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord promises us that the words will be given to us in the very moment we need them (D&C 100:6)...IF we are prepared (D&C 42:27).  But converted to what?  Prepared with what? 

What is our message? Here it is (according to my study)...

Why did Christ come to the earth?
Yes, He came to bring about our salvation, but what was His motive?  Let's look at
3 Ne. 27:14-15:

And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, ...
And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.


Our message IS  Jesus Christ.  Our message is that He has a plan...for each of us.  Our message is that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, every day can be filled with peace because He already suffered for us (D&C 19:16).  Our message is wrapped up in charity, the true love of Christ.  And so our work is to draw all men unto Christ by being who Christ intends us to be!

When we focus on our own conversion, our own faith in His promises, it actually becomes rather easy to slip in church lingo, to quote scriptures as they come into our minds, to have a conversation about religion with another religious person (of a different faith) without sweating bullets or praying for that person to join the church right there on the spot (you know we've all done it!). Our prayers change from "send me a missionary moment" (i.e.a  pat on the back for myself when I share the gospel) to "lead me, guide me, walk beside me and prepare me for thy service." 

I just read from Moroni about infant baptism with a Catholic friend of mine not to prove anything but to simply discuss beliefs.  Honestly, I was wanting to learn more about her beliefs on the subject and found there were some misconceptions on some points of their doctrine.  It was one of the most enlightening conversations because I felt my focus was more on understanding and sharing commonalities than it was to "convert" her to Mormonism.  I just felt different, less worried about what I said during and after the conversation. I'm eager to continue such conversations with her in the future.  

If we are to assist the Lord in drawing all men to Him, there must be an element of Him in us.  It is so liberating to embrace the message, the WHY of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It's amazing how the Lord fulfills His promise when He says, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear (D&C 38:30)."  Suddenly it seems as though missionary work isn't any work at all!

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