Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Words of Wisdom from Elder Walker - Farewell Talk

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God

by Tyson Walker

I am so grateful for those who helped bring the spirit to this meeting with that musical number. I love and appreciate you. It is my prayer that I can continue that spirit and that you will know that the things that are taught today are true.

In my life, I have had to learn to set a lot of goals, and learn how to accomplish them. In High School, I was heavily involved in every school play and musical. In a play, when you are given a script, it is under your own jurisdiction when you memorize and when you prepare yourself for the performances. The Director is there to help guide you, but you determine how much effort you are going to put into a show. It is very difficult, I have learned, to memorize lines and practice your character last second because it affects the whole outcome of your performance. You loose precious time to work on your character and to become comfortable with what you are to do on stage if you don’t take seriously your part in an ensemble.

On the other hand, I have learned that if you do take seriously your role in a cast, prepare yourself, and be obedient to a director, the outcome of your performance is much better.

This is so much how our lives are. We can’t live our lives thinking that we have all the time in the world to work on our own character and to find faith in Christ; we have to start now, if we haven’t already, and continue to work on our goal to return to live with our Heavenly Father. That is why we are told, “Seek first the kingdom of god.” If we first seek the kingdom of God, we then have a great path set out for us. It is much easier to decide now to do what’s right than it is to get in habit of doing wrong and having to re-learn how to do what is right.

Let me share a personal story with you that shows how I had to make a decision to seek first the kingdom of God… I have always wanted to serve a mission. I’ve had the opportunity to watch two of my siblings serve and especially watch as my brother served. He was an example to me, which in turn helped me have the desire to serve. I recently learned that it is not the desire that you gain from watching other people serve but the desire that comes from your own testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I recently had been given an incredible opportunity to be one of four people to attend a theatre program, at a great, Private University, that I loved and so desirably wished to be apart of. On top of the acceptance I was also presented with a scholarship of a significant amount. This was the first time I had seen an alternate route than that of serving a mission, or in other words being tempted with what I thought to be a great thing.

I was then faced with making the hardest decision I had yet to make in my life thus far; was I going to give up a mission that I had such a desire to serve, or was I going to give up this opportunity that I had worked so hard to achieve?

As I was faced with this difficult decision and weighing out my options, I was reminded of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in Mathew 6. (quote) “For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God.” (end quote)

I obeyed Christ’s teachings and remembered, “Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Our Heavenly Father promises us that if we have a true desire to know then he will show us.

I was then lead to Doctrine and Covenants section 4 where revelation was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith stating, (quote) “if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.” (end quote) I had the desire to serve and obviously made the decision to do so. I am so grateful that I have made the decision to put God first.

When I first got my call I really had to assure myself that I made the right decision. I had a really hard time with knowing that I gave up this opportunity to only be called to Idaho, but after a lot of prayer and time in the temple I have come to know that this is where my Heavenly Father wants me to willingly go and be his servant to teach his children that he loves so much.

A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Palmyra, New York where so many important Church events took place such as The First Vision where Joseph Smith inquired of the lord seeking to know which church to join. After reading James 1:5, (quote) “if any of you lack wisdom, let him as of god, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (end quote) Joseph then acted on the scripture and inquired of the lord in the Sacred Grove. Joseph saw and talked with God the Father and his son Jesus Christ and was given the divine mission as a prophet of God.

Palmyra is also where Joseph received the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ. Just down the road is where the church was organized. It was great to see first hand all of this history, but it was even better to feel the spirit testify to me that Joseph was and is the prophet of this dispensation and that Christ’s true church is again here on earth and the work will not stop from progressing.

When Joseph was asked by a local newspaper about the church he declared the articles of faith as well as what is known as the Standard of Truth.

Joseph declared (quote) "...the standard of truth has been erected; No un hallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done." (end quote)

When this was declared I’m sure that most people that didn’t have faith thought this was crazy. The membership of the church was few at the time and many persecutions were happening to those members, so, to boldly state that no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing would be an unrealistic statement if it came from an ordinary man.

We now look at where we stand today at more than 15 million members of the church and missionaries all over the world. That to me is proof enough that Joseph Smith is truly a prophet of God.

I know that Joseph is a prophet and that he did indeed restore the true church of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am that he did all he could to seek first the kingdom of God. I am humbled when I think about all that Joseph did go through to restore this gospel for us. He was even martyred in the name of truth and sealed his testimony with his blood.

As a missionary I will declare this message that Joseph desired everyone to hear. I gladly give my time and efforts to assist in this work, for in this there is true happiness.

John Taylor, the third President of the Church, wrote, (quote) “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (end quote)

Another great example to me is our own elder brother, Jesus Christ and how he atoned for my sins to make it possible for me to return and live again with my Father in Heaven. Christ gave his life so that it makes it possible for us to make it back to the Kingdom of God.

In Revelations chapter 20 verse 12 it talks about this book of life and how we will be judged by the things which were written in the books according to our works. I like to think that we all have our own journalist angel who keeps records of everything we do in our lives, good and bad. When we repent, the bad works get erased. When we die, we will be judged by our acts and faith. We have to start now to make sure our books are only written with good acts and that Christ will one day say to us, well done my good and faithful servant.

I testify to you that by seeking first the Kingdom of God you will find true happiness. I am truly happy and excited to serve a mission. Christ gave all he could to teach his people, I can do the same for the people in Idaho.

I am so grateful for this ward especially those who have taught me in seminary, Sunday school, and Priesthood. I have been prepared to do the work by your example and teachings. I am grateful for my family and friends who came today; your example to me has been such an influence in my life. I am grateful for my parents, for their continuous love and support. I love you so much and am truly grateful for your loving example to me.

I know this is the work of God, this church would not be what it is if Joseph was not a Prophet. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God right along side the Bible. I know that our Heavenly Father has a plan for us and if we seek first the kingdom of god there we will be truly happy. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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