A young city boy, walking by a construction site stopped to question the laborers. To the first one he asked, “Hey mister, what are you making?” The man answered, “Ten bucks an hour.” The boy wandered on and asked another worker the same question—“Hey mister, what are you making?” The man said, “A great big building.” The boy then asked the third worker the same question, “What are you making?” To which the third man humbly said, “I’m building a temple to the most High God.”
One question—three distinctly different answers. It is all a matter of perspective. A church leader told this story during a sermon the other week, and it greatly affected me. He went on to ask the congregation a hypothetical question, much like how the boy asked the workers. “Why did you come to church today?”
My parents made me come.
When we are young, we often do things out of obedience. This is an honorable thing to do—after all, if we have goodly parents, if we love them and if we know they love us, we will do as they ask. They may have a deeper reason for going to church, but we may not understand that reason while we are young. We trust their judgment, and this is enough. It helps to set a foundation that can be further built upon as we grow and develop into our adult years.
I like the social aspect of church.
Again, this can be a wonderful reason to come to church—you have common friends, interests in the youth group programs for your children, cultural traditions that are familiar and comforting. You may love to sing in the choir and so coming to church gives you a sense of belonging. You may enjoy the opportunities to teach a Sunday school class. These are all honorable activities that show a deeper understanding of why you would go to church. Serving others and being actively involved in cultural traditions is a great way to show a productive use of time and energy. But the question remains, will this reason stand the test of time?
I have a deep and unwavering love for my Savior, Jesus Christ.
The first two answers may suffice for a time, but they have shallow roots. Much like the parable of the sower and the seeds, they resemble the seed on shallow ground and have little stability when life’s trials come our way. Developing a love for the Savior establishes a well-grounded foundation in the fertile soil of the gospel. It is in his teachings, his life, his ministry, his atoning sacrifice and the knowledge of his resurrection that gives a person the necessary truths to withstand spiritual whirlwinds, and temporal adversity.
The parable of the sower and the seeds taught us to ground ourselves in the good soil of the gospel so that we may withstand the tempests of life.
Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in this last April’s General Conference, “Spiritual food is necessary for spiritual survival, especially in a world that is moving away from belief in God and the absolutes of right and wrong. In an age dominated by the Internet, which magnifies messages that menace faith, we must increase our exposure to spiritual truth in order to strengthen our faith and stay rooted in the gospel.”
When I keep a regular routine of church attendance and scripture study and when I follow the promptings of my heart to stop what I’m doing and pray, I am strengthened in spirit. I know when I am strong in spirit I am more in tune to receive personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. This in turn humbles me to be more diligent in keeping the commandments so as to be a help to my Savior in bringing others closer to Him. My knowledge of His love for me becomes apparent and humbles me to serve. I receive spiritual answers to my deepest questions and concerns. My roots grow stronger, so when spiritual turbulence runs its course, I remain strong.
I know the converse is true as well. I’ve seen it in my own life. When I neglect to nourish my spirit, I am weakened. It is much safer to stand with the Savior against the turmoil of life, planted on a firm foundation. Elder Oaks further stated, “The Savior’s warning against having the cares of this world choke out the word of God in our lives surely challenges us to keep our priorities fixed—our hearts set—on the commandments of God and the leadership of His Church.
“The Savior’s examples could cause us to think of this parable as the parable of the soils. The suitability of the soil depends upon the heart of each one of us who is exposed to the gospel seed.”
Christ is the rock on which to build.
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo; because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Helaman 5:12)
Elder Oaks further stated, “We have the seed of the gospel word. It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful. We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Colossians 2:6–7). We achieve this conversion by praying, by scripture reading, by serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be with us. We must also seek that mighty change of heart (see Alma 5:12–14) that replaces evil desires and selfish concerns with the love of God and the desire to serve Him and His children.”
Nanette O'Neal loves the gospel and is very happy to share her testimony on LDS Blogs. She is a convert to the church and still feels the spirit burn strong within her heart. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in music education and has taught children and adults in the private and public sphere for over twenty years. Nanette continues to study the gospel and the art of writing. She writes weekly inspirational articles on her blog and is currently working on an LDS fantasy novel series, A Doorway Back to Forever. You can find her at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Nanette has a wonderful husband, talented son, and three beautiful dogs.