Monday, October 15, 2012

The First Great Commandment by Jeffrey R. Holland

By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

For those of you who haven't had a chance to hear Elder Holland's message (or just want a refresher) the above link will take you to the LDS website where you can watch, listen to or read his conference address.

I'm opening with this address for a couple of reasons.  First, it falls right in line with what our Branch Presidency asked us to fast for this past Sunday: that we will be able to bring souls unto Christ.  Secondly, this talk raised many questions for me, and I'm sure for many of you, and questions generally lead to interesting discussions.  

As Elder Holland opens his talk, he explains how the 11 remaining apostles never really understood what Christ was trying to tell them about his coming death and resurrection.  Likewise in our day, we should ask ourselves: how well do we know Christ, and do we understand the things He is trying to teach us?

After a joyful reunion with His apostles, the resurrected Savior asks Peter, "Do you love me?"  Elder Holland challenges us to answer this question in our own lives.

Again, Elder Holland elaborates on Christ's message to His disciples, “Were you as foolhardy as the scribes and Pharisees? As Herod and Pilate? Did you, like they, think that this work could be killed simply by killing me? Did you, like they, think the cross and the nails and the tomb were the end of it all and each could blissfully go back to being whatever you were before? Children, did not my life and my love touch your hearts more deeply than this?”  How deeply has Christ's life and love touched are hearts?  Have we been changed?  If so, what are we going to do about it?

Elder Holland explains what the Savior might have asked of His apostles, a request that resonates today, "I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world."

Finally, do we understand the first and greatest commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.”

Elder Holland asks us to ponder these deeply personal and challenging questions.  If we can answer now, "Yea, Lord, we do love thee" are we doing all we can to live it?

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