Sermoncitos, a family tradition
Gifts of the Spirit
We are not alone. There are many spirits, those who would deceive, and those who would edify. “Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given” (D&C 46: 8). “And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.” To those who learn to rely on God rather than their own strength (Jeremiah 17:5), many gifts of the Spirit are available. Some mentioned in the scriptures are: to teach the word of wisdom, to teach the word of knowledge, to have faith, to do healing, to have faith to be healed, to work miracles. Some receive the gift to prophecy, or the beholding of angels and ministering spirits, or speaking in tongues, or interpreting diverse languages, or conducting meetings by the Spirit. It is a gift to be able to earnestly seek the Kingdom. Some are given to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and was crucified for the sins of the world, and others receive the gift of believing on their words. Some are gifted with administration, or operations, or the discerning of Spirits. “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me... For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God... To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.” (Moroni 10: 7-19; D&C 46).
Every person born on the earth is given the Spirit of Christ to discern good and evil (Moroni 7:16). Christ is the Creator of all the earth. All people on the earth are children of the same God, who loves them. All light and truth comes from Christ to everyone (D&C 84:45). Yet there are many blessings available only to those who obey the laws upon which those blessings are predicated (D&C 130:21). Many gifts of the spirit are available to bless families and individual lives to those who are in tune with the Spirit; but we should not seek gifts for personal edification, but to strengthen and serve others. “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church”(1 Cor. 14: 12).
As we think of historical figures who have been greatly blessed with gifts of the Spirit, Nephi comes to mind. He describes the effort he put into qualifying for the gifts he received. “And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God - and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come - I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men”(1 Ne. 10: 17).
Gifts of the Spirit are available to each person on the earth. Those who trust in God and seek gifts to fulfill their callings and to be of service have special promises. “And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be”(1 Ne. 13: 37). Seek the best gifts that you may better be able to serve others, and God will bless you with power from on high.
Gifts of the Spirit
After I am baptized, I am confirmed a member of the church and given the “Gift of the Holy Ghost”.
I can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
To receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I must have faith, repent, and be obedient to the commandments. I can be blessed with “gifts of the spirit”.
I can be blessed with gifts of the spirit.
The gift of tongues (D&C 46:24). Some people receive a gift to speak another language. I can pray for this gift.
The Holy Spirit can help me learn English.
The gift of interpretation of tongues (D&C 46:25). Some people receive a gift to understand another language. I can pray for this gift.
The Holy Spirit can help me understand English.
The gift of translation (D&C 5:4). Joseph Smith received a gift to translate the Book of Mormon. I can be blessed by those who have the gift of translation.
I can read the Book of Mormon in Pohnpeii language.
The gift of wisdom (D&C 46:17). Joseph Smith prayed to know which church was right. I can pray for answers to my questions.
I can pray for answers to my questions.
The gift of knowledge (D&C 46:18). The Lord has commanded us to learn as much as we can about His work. I can learn more every day.
I can learn more every day.
The gift of teaching wisdom and knowledge (Moroni 10:9-10). My teacher has a gift of teaching. I can learn to teach the gospel to my family.
I can teach my family the gospel.
The gift of testimony (D&C 46:13). Some people have a personal testimony of Jesus Christ. Some people have a gift to believe the testimony of others.
I can pray to know if Jesus is the Son of God.u
The gift of healing (D&C 46:19-20). Some have the faith to heal. Some have the faith to be healed. I can pray to be healed.
Jesus said to all mankind: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind... and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). This is a serious command, as all nations will be judged on this universal law. “Before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall seperate them one from another...” based on how they serve one another, especially those in need. (Matthew 25:31-46). It is interesting that this comes immediately after the parable of the talents (verses 14-30), reminding us that we are to sustain the weak and glorify God using whatever the Lord has given us.
There is no need to do a laudable deed or have great skills to be appreciated by the Lord or to be received into His Kingdom. Of the woman who did no more than annoint Him with oil He said, “”Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for memorial of her” (Matthew 26:13). In the parable, the talents are not given equally, but it is clear that each is expected to use whatever talent they may have.
Today we are honoring Elder and Sister Rowley who have used their substantial talents well, serving the Lupton Branch for their entire mission. They were not called to preach, but were called to help those in need. How appropriate that their calling was to the neediest little branch in the church. Well prepared by years of church and professional service, they were now given an opportunity (at their own expense) to be with people who needed the comfort of their consistent and patient attention. They have received no recognition for their sacrifice. Not even the burning of the chapel garnered the recognition of the local or the church news; but their persistent home visits and willingness to fulfill any calling in the meetings will long be remembered, like the man in the parable with many talents.
Janeen Howard is another whose contributions are greatly appreciated by many. We honor her today, as she celebrates 36 years of being a Howard. She has been ill during her time with Lupton Branch, and her service limited. However, like the widow donating her mite and the woman with the oil, she has annointed her life to service. She gives freely of her time to the young mothers of the community. She not only remembers each of the Lupton Saints and prays for their well being, but serves them in ways that only God knows. Her support of the Branch President is what makes the continuance of the branch possible during this difficult time between chapels. Her talent for loving others blesses friends and family and all the community.
May we all consider the talents and capabilities we have, and dedicate them to serving others.