This talk was delivered on January 30, 2020 by my friend DJ Borst. He gave me permission to use this talk here.
I find this to be a very interesting topic. I am grateful for the opportunity to study and prepare in order to deliver this talk to you today. It is by interesting circumstances that I have this opportunity, of which I don’t know nor do I need to know all the details. It is by faith that I do know that I am blessed to be able to do so. Please bear with me for whatever weaknesses I may have in delivering this talk. It was given to me in the 11th hour, quite literally, after a somewhat anxious text from a member of the Bishopric last night at about 10pm. It has been a testimony enlarging experience. In the very moment of my need these words were given me. What a blessing to be afforded the faith to allow the Spirit to teach me.
As I first considered the topic, I thought of it more as a statement to tell of how “I Effectively Live the Gospel” each day. But then I considered it as a question asking myself “how do I live the gospel each day”, or even “how can I live the gospel each day?”
Effectively living the gospel of Jesus Christ is much like something that I continuously tell my athletes from the beginning of the volleyball season all throughout our time together. That is, that I expect that they give me 100% each time we are on the court together. This is with the understanding that 100% will be different for each player and will be different each time that they step onto the court. Individual circumstance, injury, mindset and fitness will all be a part of the equation the makes up their 100%.
In this, as an analogy, we are the athletes and our Heavenly Father is the coach. Each and every day, spiritually, our individual circumstances, injuries, mindset and fitness make up our spiritual 100%. Heavenly Father expects 100% from us, knowing this and because there will be shortcomings, He provided a Savior who can help us to qualify for a higher esteem. He is a player, of sorts. He is a part of our team and that can help us to be champions in our eternal spiritual pursuit.
In Stephen E Robinson’s book Believing Christ he offers one of my favorite parables that demonstrates this principle very well. Some of you may be familiar with this parable. It’s titled The Parable of the Bicycle. Myself, being the father of 4 daughters that I adore it is dear to my heart and reads as such;
“I was sitting in a chair reading. My daughter, Sarah, who was seven years old at the time, came in and said, “Dad, can I have a bike? I’m the only kid on the block who doesn’t have one.”
Well, I didn’t have the money then for a bike, so I stalled her. I said, “Sure, Sarah.”
She said, “How? When?”
I said, “You save all your pennies, and soon you’ll have enough for a bike.” And she went away.
A couple of weeks later I was sitting in the same chair when I heard a “clink, clink” in Sarah’s bedroom. I asked, “Sarah, what are you doing?”
She came to me with a little jar, a slit cut in the lid, and a bunch of pennies in the bottom. She said, “You promised me that if I saved all my pennies, pretty soon I’d have enough for a bike. And, Daddy, I’ve saved every single one of them.”
My heart melted. My daughter was doing everything in her power to follow my instructions. I hadn’t actually lied to her. If she saved all of her pennies, she would eventually have enough for a bike, but by then she would want a car. I said, “Let’s go look at bikes.”
We went to every store in town. Finally we found it—the perfect bicycle. She was thrilled. Then she saw the price tag, and her face fell. She started to cry. “Oh, Dad, I’ll never have enough for a bicycle!”
So I said, “Sarah, how much do you have?”
She answered, “Sixty-one cents.”
“I’ll tell you what. You give me everything you’ve got and a hug and a kiss, and the bike is yours.” Then I drove home very slowly because she insisted on riding the bike home.
As I drove beside her, I thought of the atonement of Christ. We all desperately want the celestial kingdom. We want to be with our Father in Heaven. But no matter how hard we try, we come up short. At some point all of us must realize, “I can’t do this by myself. I need help.” Then it is that the Savior says, in effect, All right, you’re not perfect. But what can you do? Give me all you have, and I’ll do the rest.”
This is so beautiful to understand. Like Sarah we must give our 100% , for her at that time 61 cents. For others it may be that widow’s mite, and for some sterling others it may be a sizable sum, but what is important is that what we give is what will be “effective” for that moment or day or time. Our Heavenly Coach, in His wisdom, has provided a way to meet the demands of justice at whatever the cost should be through the atoning sacrifice of His Only Begotten. In the solemnly beautiful words of Isaiah as quoted in the Book of Mormon Mosiah chapter 14 verse 5:
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
I have discussed what my understanding of effectiveness is in the context of “How Do I Effectively Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ Every Day?” and would like to go forward in looking at what may be understood as “the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
In my study I went directly to the source. I looked to the words of Christ in the scriptures. In 3 Nephi 27 verse 21 it reads “Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel…”
Now please bear with me as we dive into and power through a lot of scriptures here in 3 Nephi.
So, how does He, Christ Jesus, define His gospel?
As background, in this part of the Book of Mormon, Christ has appeared to the Nephites in America. He came to them at the temple in the land Bountiful. Christ shows the people the marks in His hands, feet and side. He sets forth the mode and manner of baptism and declared His doctrine. Christ’s doctrine is that men should believe and be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. He then calls forth 12 disciples and issues unto them that they should baptize. He declares that the law of Moses is fulfilled in Him. He tells of the lost sheep, He heals the sick, institutes the sacrament, preaches about many things including the Second Coming.
And then we get to chapter 27. <sigh>
OK, The newly called disciples are out journeying and preaching and baptizing, and all came together to fast and pray. While doing so, Christ appeared to them.
v. 2 “And Jesus again showed himself unto them, for they were praying unto the Father in his name; and Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said unto them: What will ye that I shall give unto you?
3 And they said unto him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church…”
Skip to v. 5 “Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;”
Now v. 7 “Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name;”
And then in v. 9 : “Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel…”
Interesting, what does this mean? How are we “built upon (His) gospel?”
We get an answer v. 13 reads. “Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent…”
14 through 19 are summarized in v. 20, “Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.”
And to requote v. 21, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel;”
Quite literally, His mission and atoning sacrifice constitute His gospel. Let us let that sink in a little bit. Is it not interesting that to be effective in living Christ’s gospel, which is His atonement, we must accept and apply His infinite atonement. Christ is surely then, the key.
Can we now answer the question, How Do I Effectively Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ Every Day?
I think that we can. We effectively live His gospel by allowing the atonement into our lives. By showing up with our version of Sarah’s 61 cents and believing Christ, knowing that the atonement is something that HAS happened, that it is real and is completely and personally offered for you. This is effectively living the gospel of Jesus Christ, because we are making it effective in our life, as it was intended to be.
Brothers and sisters, Heavenly Father wants nothing more than for His eternal family to be together forever. He loves us in a way we surely cannot comprehend, much in the same way earthly parents don’t comprehend loving their children until they have them. Let us work to assist to bring about the work and glory of God the Father by bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man through “Effectively living the gospel of Jesus Christ.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.