A Consecrated Life

One of the great blessings of coming on a mission is the opportunity to meet and learn from people who have consecrated their lives to the Lord. I speak of the senior couples I have the privilege to rub shoulders with on a day-to-day basis here in the Congo.
There is something different about people who are willing to travel to the ends of the earth to serve God (and pay for the privilege with their own money!), without any hope of earthly reward. They are—they must be—the highest example of what God wants us to be.
I am convinced these wonderful senior missionaries have become the type of people God will welcome with open arms into His kingdom. Their dedication and sacrifice to serve others proves they have the one characteristic that ensures them a place in God’s kingdom: charity.
“Those who accept calls to serve on full-time missions are the best examples of people who have Charity, the pure love of Christ, within them! It is stated in the Book of Mormon that “Charity is the pure love of God.” By this plain yet comprehensive definition, we learn that unless the love of God dwells in our hearts we have not charity. This love for the salvation of mankind induces the true servants of the Lord to travel to the ends of the earth, without the shadow or hope of earthly reward, to preach the Gospel to the world.” (Matthias F. Cowley, Cowley’s Talks on Doctrine pg. 167
I have found this statement to be true. What is also true is that few, if any, of these same couples would see themselves in this light. They all have faults they continue to work on (don’t we all?), and are either so focused on the work before them, or so aware of their own, very minor, faults that they do not realize how much progress they have made and how worthy they actually are to enter God’s kingdom!
It reminds me of a quote from Bruce R McConkie about obtaining your calling and election. He noted that there are those among us who qualify for this great blessing but do not recognize it. Perhaps it is because they continue to see their own faults without understanding that a person, though striving to be perfect, does not have to be perfect to enter the Kingdom:
“That all men commit sin, before and after baptism, and for that matter, before and after their calling and election is made sure, is self evident. There has been only one Sinless One the Lord Jesus who was God’s own Son…There are, of course, those whose callings and election have been made sure who have never exercised the faith nor exhibited the righteousness which would enable them to commune with the Lord on the promised basis. There are even those who neither believe nor know that it is possible to see the Lord in this day, and they therefore are without the personal incentive that would urge them onward in the pursuit of this consummation so devoutly desired by those with spiritual insight.” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, pg. 586)
I believe all of the Senior couples I have met while here in the Congo (including Pres. and Sister McMullin of course) have met the requirements for entry into the Kingdom, but few would dare recognize it or believe it to be true.
Joseph Smith said, in the oft-quoted statement about faith:
“When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do His will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek His face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. Those, then, who make the sacrifice, will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God; and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life. But those who do not make the sacrifice cannot enjoy this faith.”(Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, lecture six)
The Senior couples I have met are the perfect example of those who have made this sacrifice! Not only have they lived good lives and served God faithfully most of their lives, they have now, once again, proven that they are willing to make the sacrifice necessary to lay hold on eternal life.
Anyone looking from the outside in can see this so clearly! Yet the humble nature of these servants of God often prevents them from seeing it for themselves.
I am just happy I have the opportunity to work with and learn from them, and know that we will develop lasting relationships that will continue on into eternity.

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