Have you ever put yourself in the events of a parable? Of course, you have. We have all asked ourselves which of the ten virgins we would be or stepped into the circumstance of the lost sheep or suffered along with the prodigal son. Whether we play the part of the rescuer or the rescued, it matters not.
I love the unspoken parable about the Savior of the World being a carpenter. He is familiar with broken things. His job is to mend that which is damaged—shattered lives, broken hearts, destroyed relationships—these are his expertise, his profession if you will. All of us have needs—trials, troubles, afflictions, disappointments, sorrows, heartaches, and despair. The incomprehensible cost of our shortcomings has been paid in full.
We had a farewell and homecoming in our sacrament meeting today. It was amazing. Amazing? Is that too complimentary? I think not. The young man that was preparing to serve in the Ukraine is only days from entering the MTC, but to me, he sounded like a return missionary. His testimony of Jesus Christ and the power of his Atonement to affect our lives for good was articulate and passionate.
He said that he followed a challenge President Russell M. Nelson issued to young adults. He completed the same challenge that he committed to read and study the scriptures pertaining to the life of Christ. President Nelson accepted the challenge as well. He recounted his experience in his blog post, which follows:
Last month, I invited you to tell me about your experience with consecrating a portion of your time to studying everything Jesus said and did in the scriptures, an invitation I issued at the worldwide devotional. I want to thank you for sharing your experiences with me on my Facebook post.
What I didn’t mention then was that I recently completed this very same assignment myself, for the very first time. I have devoted much of my 92 years to learning about the Savior, but rare are the occasions when I have been able to learn as much as I did over the six weeks I completed this task. In fact, I learned so much about Him from this study that I am planning to share much of it in other upcoming addresses that I am currently preparing.
I challenge you to undertake this task. I promise you that if you will study His words, your ability to be more like Him will increase. I know this is true.
Hundreds of responses to this challenge were posted on Russell M Nelson’s Facebook page by young men and women who took his challenge. The reaction has been remarkable; the result, empowering. The effect has been inspiring for those that followed his commission and for some life-changing.
This principle has been revealed again in our day. “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Ne. 27: 27)
Men are commanded to repent and be baptized that they may be sanctified by the Holy Ghost. That we will come to know the Savior, pattern our lives after his, and appreciate the gospel, which he has wrought in our behalf.
“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 me.” (3 Nephi 27:13)
In Nazareth, the narrow road,
That tires the feet and steals the breath,
Passes the place where once abode
The Carpenter of Nazareth.
And up and down the dusty way
The village folk would often wend;
And on the bench, beside Him, lay
Their broken things for Him to mend.
The maiden with the doll she broke,
The woman with the broken chair,
The man with broken plow, or yoke,
Said, “Can you mend it, Carpenter?”
And each received the thing he sought,
In yoke, or plow, or chair, or doll;
The broken thing which each had brought
Returned again a perfect whole.
So, up the hill the long years through,
With heavy step and wistful eye,
The burdened souls their way pursue,
Uttering each the plaintive cry:
“O Carpenter of Nazareth,
This heart, that’s broken past repair,
This life, that’s shattered nigh to death,
Oh, can You mend them, Carpenter?”
And by His kind and ready hand,
His own sweet life is woven through
Our broken lives, until they stand
A New Creation—“all things new.”
“The shattered [substance] of [the] heart,
Desire, ambition, hope, and faith,
Mould Thou into the perfect part,
May we all, especially the poor in spirit, come unto Him and be made whole. We try and press forward to follow the example of the Carpenter of Nazareth as he lightened the load of others, encourage and assist the downtrodden, extend helping hands, and follow the example and enjoy the blessings of true discipleship as we quietly reach out to others as he did.
Because of Him, we can overcome the challenges of life. Hope is never lost.
Remember Peter? He cried for help in the moment of need, and we can too at our times of discouragement and heartache seek out His assistance in our lives.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
Often when we tell the story of Peter, we fail to read and comprehend and emphasize the last verse above “And when they came into the ship, the wind ceased.” That is the promise that whosoever will put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials and their troubles and their afflictions. We can be lifted from not only from the burdens of our sins but also the burden of our disappointments and sorrows our heartaches and our despair.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.