Hey. You know something big is going on when my parents aren't sitting on the metal chairs in the back.
A couple years ago, when I was in the Priest quorum with Brother Kandell as a leader, we went up to Salt Lake City to give food to the homeless. We did this a few times, usually bringing tacos to give to those hungry people. We would just buy a bunch of tacos and take them up there. It wasn't a complex activity, it wasn't an activity that took a ton of planning like a backpacking trip. It didn't take a lot of physical exertion, but it was an activity that I remember. I remember the talking we did on the way up. I remember sitting in the back of Kandell's car with Jacob Whitchurch and Adam Bigler, messing around the entire time joking and just hanging out. I then remember how small of a deal it felt to have all of those tacos--and we had a ton of them—we were just joking about how many we had and we didn't really think about it. It just seemed really funny looking at how many we had. And then I remember how it felt to walk up to those homeless people. How humble they were. How grateful they were to receive such a small thing, even something so small as a taco. I remember feeling how happy they were every single time I would give them one. We went around and handed them out for a while. I remember the drive home. It wasn't like the drive up there. The drive home was quiet. Not the same joking. I was thinking. Thinking about gratitude and how we don't realize what we have. Gratitude and humility changed the spirit of the whole night. I began thinking, "Does this mean I need to be homeless to be humble?" Or is it because I have been given much, I too must give?
I truly have been given much. I have been blessed in more ways than I can count. I have grown up in this wonderful ward for thirteen years. And I have an awesome and crazy family, who do weird things that I don’t do. I have amazing friends and I have had them my entire life. I have been able to go to a great school. I have been able to receive an education that so many people cannot. I have been able to be a member of the American Fork Band program. The band especially has been a big blessing in my life. I have been able to go to California and march in the 2012 Rose Parade, and I have been able to perform beautiful pieces with some of my best friends. As my fellow band members know, it’s not all fun and games in band. There's a lot of stress. One of the most stressful times was always the auditions for chair placements. We would audition in front of the director and he marked your mistakes and gave you a chair assignment. Each of us had worked really, really hard to do the best we could, but the part we ended up playing was what our director chose for us. Playing a full piece with our band after being placed in our chairs, or what parts we had been assigned, let us perform to a higher level than we could have otherwise. He placed us in a position where our talents would serve the entire band the most and make the music we play beautiful.
Just as our director placed us where we could serve according to our abilities, so did Heavenly Father do for us. President Ezra Taft Benson taught, "men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, . . . lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace." In this we see that in turning our lives over to the Lord and humbly serving Him, we lose nothing, and we gain everything, for "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."
As Richard C. Edgley tells us, "[The power of humility] is the power to meet life's adversities, the power of peace, the power of hope, the power of a heart throbbing with a love for and testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ, even the power of redemption. To this end, the Savior is our supreme example of the power of humility and submissiveness. After all, His submitting His will to the Father brought about the greatest, and even the most powerful, event in all of history. Perhaps some of the most sacred words in all the scriptures are simply, 'Not my will, but thine, be done.'"
"Humility," President Uchtdorf teaches us, "does not mean convincing ourselves that we are worthless, meaningless, or of little value. Nor does it mean denying or withholding the talents God has given us. We don't discover humility by thinking less of ourselves; we discover humility by thinking less about ourselves. It comes as we go about our work with an attitude of serving God and our fellowman." We limit ourselves from serving God and others through our pride. Pride pulls us away from the Lord and into ourselves. In the same talk from President Uchtdorf, we learn, "[Pride] is for so many a personal Rameumptom, a holy stand that justifies envy, greed, and vanity."
The Rameumptom is seen in scriptures as Alma goes amongst the Zoramites to teach. The Zoramites used the Rameumptom each week to worship with ritual, insincere, and prideful prayers. They would stand upon the Rameumptom and repeat the same prayer each week, then return home and never speak of their God again until the next week. Alma discovered that the Zoramites wouldn't allow the poor of to worship because of the lower quality of their clothing. Alma taught them that they were more able to receive the blessings of heaven because they were more able to be humble. Alma 32:3 says, "Therefore they were not permitted to enter into their synagogues to worship God, being esteemed as filthiness; therefore they were poor; yea, they were esteemed by their brethren as dross; therefore they were poor as to things of the world; and also they were poor in heart," and a few verses later Alma says, "I behold that ye are lowly in heart; and if so, blessed are ye." When he says they are lowly in heart, he tells us not that they think less of themselves, but that they are not puffed up with pride and are humble before the Lord.
Even Christ, the great Redeemer, the Only Begotten, our Savior, gave the glory of His works and life not to himself, but to God, saying, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever." His entire ministry on the Earth, every miracle He performed, was to glorify Heavenly Father. I know that as we turn our lives over to the Father and away from ourselves, we will receive those promised blessings. I know that He knows where we belong in the symphony of our lives and what part we must play to fulfill His plans. I am devoting the next two years of my life to my Father's work. I will be serving in Liberia, West Africa, to a people who live in some of the most humble circumstances on this Earth. I am so excited to see the joy in their eyes as the Gospel changes their lives, as it has mine. I know that He lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that He has a plan for us and that as we lose ourselves to Him and we serve others and don't focus on ourselves, that we will be happier, that we will be blessed. I know that the Book of Mormon is the most true book on this planet. I know this church is true. I say these things in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
[Rain then went to the piano and played Paul Cardall's rendition of Redeemer]
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