What an amazing week this has been! Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I have been so spoiled by my family and friends! I couldn't feel more loved!
As a missionary, I am constantly learning more about the Atonement of Christ. It is amazing to see how truly endless His Atoning sacrifice is. Just when you think there couldn't be anything more amazing, the Lord reveals another truth to you through the Holy Ghost. I am constantly in awe at His love for all of us.
I have been studying the new testament. I study with the institute manual because I'm not smart enough to figure it out on my own. I loved what it said about the parable of the Laborers and I wanted to share!
Matthew 20:1–16. The Parable of the Laborers
A common practice in Jesus’s day was for landowners to go to a central gathering place and hire temporary laborers. In this parable the householder went into the marketplace at about 6:00 a.m. to hired laborers to work for a “penny” (or denarius, which was a typical day’s wages). He returned to the marketplace at 9:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. (the eleventh hour), found other unemployed men who were willing to work, and hired them, promising to pay them “whatsoever is right” (Matthew 20:4, 7).
It would have been unusual to pay first those who had worked the least (see Matthew 20:8). However, this parable is an extension of what Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 19:30: “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” Those hired in the eleventh hour might represent those who become converted late in life but thereafter labor diligently in the kingdom. One truth this parable illustrates is that whether people become disciples of Christ in their youth, in their young adulthood, in the later stages of life, or in some instances in the spirit world (see D&C 137:7–8), eternal life is the reward for all people who make and keep sacred covenants with the Lord (see D&C 76:95; 84:38; 88:107).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered these additional lessons from this parable of the laborers:
“This parable—like all parables—is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats. This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.
“… However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
“… There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning.
“… His concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not the hour of the day in which you got there.
“So if you have made covenants, keep them. If you haven’t made them, make them. If you have made them and broken them, repent and repair them. It is never too late so long as the Master of the vineyard says there is time” (“The Laborers in the Vineyard,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 32–33).
Isn't God's love and mercy so amazing! I am so blesses that I get to help people come to know this truth do themselves! Sometimes I think it is something that I take for granted. I know that all of God's children can return to Him through the Atonement of Christ. So many people don't have that hope in their lives!
So, if you want to give the best birthday present to me ever, share your testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ with someone. It doesn't have to be a non-member. It can be your mom, your Brother, your spouse, your kids, whoever!
Elder Boyd K. Packer Said, "A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!" (The Candle of the Lord, Ensign Jan. 1983).
I know that as you bear your testimony of the Saviors love for our brothers and sisters that come to know of His infinit love and mercy for both them and yourselves.
I love you all so much! Have an amazing week!
1&2: I got to hold a butterfly!
3-7: Yup, I was spoiled on my birthday!
8: "...but his hand is stretched out still" (2 Nephi 20:4)