Sunday, January 8, 2012

Family Ward Probs

I had to write the message for the Ward Newsletter this month. I basically reused my entire talk for Evening in Excellence, because it was all about setting goals and baby steps and stuff like that. Fairly applicable to a new year.

Also I apologize for two religious-y posts in a row. But you guys know me and obviously know this is all talk. So here it is. Enjoy.

We're facing a new year, which means most of us are evaluating last year and vowing to make this one the best year yet. We are making New Year's Resolutions, rewriting schedules and clearing the junk food from our pantries. I expect most of us have recommitted ourselves spiritually, as well. But our goals will matter little if we are not sure of our end result - our destination.

Everything in this life is part of a recipe. What type of recipe depends on YOU. You must decide what type of dish you are going to make. I once heard a parable about father teaching his children about choices and the recipe of life. They decided for Family Home Evening, they would make a cake. The father told every family member to grab their favorite ingredients for their cake.

"Aren't we going to follow a recipe?" His puzzled daughter asked.

"No, I don't think we need help. I think we can figure this out on our own. Right?"

The oldest daughter pulled out some chocolate, because everyone loves chocolate. The oldest son grabbed cinnamon, because he loved cinnamon rolls more than anything. The youngest son returned with pickles - his favorite treat. The youngest daughter picked festive pink sprinkles. Mom, playing along, chose peanut butter, and Dad threw in his favorite snack -- carrots. As their father started to cut up and pour in all of the ingredients, the amused smiles disappeared from the children's faces. They watched in amazement as Dad slid the "cake" into the oven to bake for 12-18 minutes. When the cake was finished, Dad pulled it out and tried his best to cut the amorphous blob into slices.

"Who's first?!" He asked excitedly.

"Ummm... Dad? That looks disgusting." His children mumbled.

"No! It's all of our favorite things. We all love this stuff. How could it be disgusting?" He said in mock disbelief.
"Well, yeah... but in the end they don't work together. They don't make a cake!"

Indeed, they did not. This "cake" didn't look enticing or edible at all. After some discussion, they decided that flour and salt, eggs and butter, while not as exciting as their favorite things, were necessary for making the cake. They pulled out a recipe and tried again, this time with a successful, delicious result.

The world would encourage us to make our own recipes. Choose all of your favorite ingredients, with no regard for the end result. Have fun. Make mistakes. No consequences.

Christ would have us follow HIS recipe. The flour and salt, eggs and butter are our trials, hard work, sacrifice and humility. On their own, they may seem difficult or "uncool." But they are integral parts to our recipe, and without them our cake will never taste as sweet.

Let us choose our recipe for 2012, and let us follow it carefully. It is found in the scriptures and can be mixed through study, church activity and service to others. When we have a target, a destination, an end result, our goals become clearer and more attainable. This year CAN be one for progress and achievement. We can follow the admonition of a beloved Prophet George Albert Smith, our topic of study this year, when he urged us

"Let us do better than we have ever done before. Let us renew our determination to be real Latter-day Saints, and not just make-believe. ... I do not know anybody who can not do a little better than he has been doing, if he makes up his mind (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, pg. 5)."

I bear my testimony that this Gospel is true, and is the recipe for happiness and eternal life, found only in the Celestial Kingdom. This is our goal.

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