It hit me when I got up to the pulpit that last time I tried to speak in front of a crowd I ended up freaking out and having to get someone else to do it. Not a good time to remember you don’t like public speaking.
Overall, it went good. Besides the points when my knees were shaking so much that I felt like I was gonna fall and I think I was speaking to fast. And my loverly seesters showed up as a surprise, which was very nice!
As promised, my talk:
Good morning my brothers and sisters,
About 5 weeks back, Brother Hernandez came up to me and asked me if I could do a talk next Sunday. I told him that after church that day, I was leaving for Saskatchewan and wouldn’t be back for 5 or 6 weeks. I asked if I could get my topic so I could start early. Well, he hadn’t even figured out the topics for that far ahead but told me he would let me know when I got back. I thought to myself ‘Aha! I’ve gotten out of it!’ like some people say they’ve been able to do….Yeah…As you can see; I didn’t get out of it.
I’ve been given the topic ‘Blessing the sick and needy’. As I’ve come to understand it, there are a couple ways this can be done. There are blessings that can be given by those who hold the Priesthood, such as the laying on of the hands and using consecrated oil, as well as blessings that come from charity given to those who need it and also through prayer. I was slightly confused as to which specifically I was to cover, but I decided to talk about blessings from charity and prayer because those are blessings we are all able to give.
In Moroni 7:45 it says “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Jesus is the perfect example of charity because along with all the good works he did in his life, like showing compassion for the poor and healing the sick, he blessed us, the needy, with his gift of the Atonement. We should strive to follow his example and help to lighten one another’s burdens through love, kindness and understanding. Not only do we bless others’ lives when we perform acts of charity, but we are blessed too. As you continue to be charitable to your fellow man, the ‘True to the Faith’ book says “You will find that your love increases. You will experience the joy of being in the Lord’s service. The Holy Ghost will be your constant companion…You will be prepared to meet the Lord at the Judgment, when he will reward you according to the dedication to His work.”
A wonderful story of charity and blessing the needy was told by Thomas S. Monson, in the January 2006 issue of the Liahona. President Monson says:
Be an example in charity. From Corinthians comes the beautiful truth, “Charity never faileth.” 17
Satisfying to the soul is the ready response the Church has made to disasters of nature in so many locations. Frequently we have arrived first on the scene following such disasters and with the most help. There are other organizations which likewise respond in a generous fashion.
What is charity? Moroni, in writing a few of the words of his father, Mormon, recorded, “Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever.” 18
One who exemplified charity in his life was President George Albert Smith. Immediately following World War II, the Church had a drive to amass warm clothing to ship to suffering Saints in Europe. Elder Harold B. Lee of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Marion G. Romney, an Assistant to the Twelve, took President George Albert Smith to Welfare Square in Salt Lake City to view the results. They were impressed by the generous response of the membership of the Church. They watched President Smith observing the workers as they packaged this great volume of donated clothing and shoes. They saw tears running down his face. After a few moments, President Smith removed his own new overcoat and said, “Please ship this also.”
The Brethren said to him, “No, President, no; don’t send that; it’s cold and you need your coat.”
But President Smith would not take it back; and so his coat, with all the others, was sent to Europe, where the nights were long and dark and food and clothing were scarce. Then the shipments arrived. Joy and thanksgiving were expressed aloud, as well as in secret prayer.
Again, that’s from the January 2006 issue of the Liahona
After witnessing the charity of others towards those suffering in post World War II Germany, President Smith was so moved that he gave the coat off his back to those who needed it. By doing this, he demonstrated how even just witnessing great acts of charity, you can, as the ‘True to the Faith’ book said ‘find that your love increases’.
From Gospel principals, it says “We should not try to decide whether someone really deserves our help or not. If we have taken care of our own family’s needs first, then we should help all who need help. In this way, we will be like our Father in Heaven, who causes rain to fall on the just and unjust alike.”
As we find our love increasing, we will find we are more accepting of others and less ready to judge those who require our assistance, which enables us to help more people without much hesitation.
The second part that I felt I should talk about is prayer. On LDS.org, from the Gospel library, it says “Remember the needs of others as we pray. We should offer prayers “for [our] welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around [us]” (Alma 34:27). We should ask our Heavenly Father to bless and comfort those in need.”
Also from the gospel library: When we make a request through prayer, we must do all we can to assist in its being granted. Heavenly Father expects us to do more than merely ask Him for blessings…Our prayers for our own welfare and for the welfare of others will be in vain if we “turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need” (Alma 34:28).
If we pray for our own wellbeing, we must also remember to pray for the wellbeing of others, otherwise it will be futile. However, when we pray for blessings for those in need, we must also try to act on it, to the best of our ability, and do all we can to help it to happen. Prayer goes hand in hand with charity. Without one, it is unlikely the other will be as effective when we strive to assist others.
I would just like to finish off with a brief excerpt from the Nov 2001 edition of Ensign, where President Monson was quoted: “Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.”
I would like to close with my testimony. I know that through charity, one can find a greater love for humanity and a willingness to help bear others’ burdens with them. I also know that when you give without judgment, good things will come back to you, especially when you’re not expecting it. I am grateful to those who have given to me without judgment, expecting nothing in return, those of you who have generously given your time to me and helped guide me as I joined the Church. I am also grateful to all of you who extended the hand of friendship to me as I was joining; it was wonderful to be welcomed so openly. I am grateful to all those who put up with all my questions, to my family who accepted my decision as best they could and I am very grateful to have received a calling so soon after my conversion.
I have witnessed the power and effectiveness of prayer and know that, when you pray with your heart, you will receive answers and blessings. One of the first answers I received, just before I joined the Church, was to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he translated the Book of Mormon and that it is true. Through prayer, I have also come from having somewhat of a belief in the Atonement to being blessed to know that our Heavenly Father loves us immeasurably, so much so that he has blessed us with the gift of the Atonement. I have also been blessed with many friends who have helped me build my testimony, and with your help, and A LOT of prayer and scripture study, I have come to know this Church to be true.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ,