My father-in-law died and had his funeral this Tuesday. I was asked to write a talk for his funeral (about a month before he died). They ended up not using it.
- The had the stake president deliver a plan of salvation talk instead.
- Worse, he did a brilliant job, turns out that he is a sought after speaker for funerals, who knew.
- So, you are getting my talk here instead, it is about the three things that matter in the end.
In the end it comes to three things.
- Did we accept that we needed a Savior?
- Did we believe the things Jesus told us?
- Did we act on those tools he gave us to encompass godliness?
Many people think they have accepted the need for a savior, but really have not. While Christ came to save and redeem all of us, those people believe that they are among those who “need no repentance.” They believe that repentance, change and redemption are for other people.
To accept that you need a savior is to accept that repentance, change and redemption are for you first, something you need rather than something you need to throw in other people’s direction. To do otherwise you become one with those who have rejected Christ in their hearts and have rejected belief in a savior for all humanity.
If you have accepted that you need Jesus Christ (rather than believe that the savior is for others who lack your superior virtue), then do you believe what God said.
For, as Isaiah prophesied (in Isaiah Chapter 55):
1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
6 ¶Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 ¶For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Do you believe God when he states that the salvation of Christ is promised “without money and without price?” Do you believe that it is not only something you need, but something you can obtain, that the burden is light?
Or, as Nephi said in 2 Nephi 26:
24 He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.
25 Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.
26 Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.
27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.
28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.
The world tells us that it is difficult if not impossible for us to meet the requirements that God has set for us. The world teaches that salvation is not for everyone, and that many are forbidden. To the contrary, Nephi pointed out that salvation is free for all men. And Christ said in the eleventh Chapter of Matthew:
28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
I was inspired to write this because of George Wallace, my father-in-law, who believed in Christ. He believed that repentance, a need for change and a need for redemption applied to all men and to himself.
He accepted that he was weak and that he needed salvation.
And in Christ he had hope, and in Christ’s grace.
Though he has died, as President Dieter F. Uchtdorf preached in April conference:
Because of the sacrifice of our beloved Redeemer, death has no sting, the grave has no victory, Satan has no lasting power, and we are “begotten … again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
President Uchtdorf went on to say:
I marvel to think that the Son of God would condescend to save us, as imperfect, impure, mistake-prone, and ungrateful as we often are. I have tried to understand the Savior’s Atonement with my finite mind, and the only explanation I can come up with is this: God loves us deeply, perfectly, and everlastingly. I cannot even begin to estimate “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height … [of] the love of Christ.”
A powerful expression of that love is what the scriptures often call the grace of God—the divine assistance and endowment of strength by which we grow from the flawed and limited beings we are now into exalted beings of “truth and light, until [we are] glorified in truth and [know] all things.”
Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God. Thinking that we can trade our good works for salvation is like buying a plane ticket and then supposing we own the airline. Or thinking that after paying rent for our home, we now hold title to the entire planet earth.
As I remember George Wallace, I also remember that he believed in his need for a Christ and that he believed in the words of Christ. I remember that he understood his own need for the salvation of God, the condescension of God that is Christ, and that he understood and believed that the salvation of Christ came without money and without price.
Finally, I come to the third point, acting to embrace godliness. Or, as the Apostle Peter put it, to partake of the divine nature.
As Peter (and Ezra Taft Benson) both said:
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
“And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:5–7).
To quote President Ezra Taft Benson speaking on Peter’s words:
To our temperance we are to add patience. …Patience is another form of self-control. It is the ability to postpone gratification and to bridle one’s passions. … A patient man is understanding of others’ faults.
A patient man also waits on the Lord. We sometimes read or hear of people who seek a blessing from the Lord, then grow impatient when it does not come swiftly. Part of the divine nature is to trust in the Lord enough to “be still and know that [he is] God” (D&C 101:16).
A [person] who is patient will be tolerant of the mistakes and failings of his loved ones. Because he loves them, he will not find fault nor criticize nor blame.
Another attribute mentioned by Peter is kindness. … One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses and faults. Kindness is extended to all—to the aged and the young, to animals, to those low of station as well as the high
These three things are what matter in the end:
- accepting that we need a savior,
- believing in God’s promises that Jesus Christ can save us, and;
- being able to partake in the divine nature in this life by being kind, patient and tolerant,
Those three things allow us to find charity; that we are not left without consolation or comfort. For Christ promised us that “I will not leave you comfortless. …”
The comfort we are promised will allow us to believe int, recognize and accept Christ in our lives that we may find joy, with brother Wallace, in the resurrection and salvation of our Lord.
This is my prayer and my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.