Sunday, March 2, 2014

Call to Repent

In church today, I gave a lesson entitled "Faith and Repentance". I had NO idea how to give this lesson. It spoke about the need to call others to repentance. It was hard to reconcile the idea of calling someone to repentance vs. judging others. After reading lots of devotionals, talks, and speeches on the matter, this was what stuck out the most to me. The following excerpt is from a talk entitled People to People by David B. Haight:

Arturo Toscanini, the late, famous conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, received a brief, crumpled letter from a lonely sheepherder in the remote mountain area of Wyoming:
“Mr. Conductor: I have only two possessions—a radio and an old violin. The batteries in my radio are getting low and will soon die. My violin is so out of tune I can’t use it. Please help me. Next Sunday when you begin your concert, sound a loud ‘A’ so I can tune my ‘A’ string; then I can tune the other strings. When my radio batteries are dead, I’ll have my violin.”

At the beginning of his next nationwide radio concert from Carnegie Hall, Toscanini announced: “For a dear friend and listener back in the mountains of Wyoming the orchestra will now sound an ‘A.’” The musicians all joined together in a perfect “A.”

The lonely sheepherder only needed one note, just a little help to get back in tune; he could go on from there. He needed someone who cared to assist him with one string; the others would be easy. Then, with all strings in tune—in harmony—the lonely sheepherder would have a source of companionship and joy and could play uplifting strains.

My expressions and encouragement this morning are to God’s children whose batteries may be low or with strings in need of tuning, those whose souls were one time touched by the words and teachings of the Master and His servants but have been attracted away into other interests and activities. Some may have been neglected or not sufficiently involved in a meaningful Church responsibility or may have a feeling of injury or hurt or even unworthiness.

Some have allowed themselves to get out of tune. They may have lost the pitch and drifted from the original score. The Savior of the world gave rules to live by and taught principles of love that encompass concern and encouragement:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour,” he said, “and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“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.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28–30.)

He did not limit or say “all who are perfect come unto me” or just the rich, or just the poor, or just the healthy, or those without sin, or those who pray the longest, or just the sick. His invitation is to all: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” comfort, peace; “for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Sometimes when our batteries are running on empty and we make a wrong decision or two and our lives get out of harmony, we just need a little help. One note of encouragement or help to get us on the right path. Repentance isn't about judgement and guilt. Yes, we should feel sorry for what we've done, but the joy of repentance is turning away from the sin and getting back in tune with God. Its about love.

Lately my life has seemed a little out of tune. Not that anything in my life is egregiously wrong, just that I haven't been as close to heaven as I'd like to be some days. In the hustle and bustle I forget to do those things which bring me back to God. It was such a tender mercy to be assigned to teach this lesson and another testament of God's goodness and guidance in my life.