Clark Manwaring is serving a Full-Time Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in The Colombia Barranquilla Mission.
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." Alma 26:12
Friday, October 10, 2014
Good Afternoon brothers and sisters, I am privileged to speak to you today on the topic of obedience before I leave for my mission in Barranquilla, Colombia. To start things off I will share a little information on Colombia and hopefully get you guys as excited as I am for the opportunity to serve there. There are just short of 190,000 members in Colombia, there is currently one temple in Bogota and construction is beginning on the new Barranquilla temple; my mission specifically is home to the singer Shakira and the actress Sofia Vergara from the TV show modern family. Some believe South America to be the setting of different parts of the Book of Mormon. Regardless of whether Colombia is or not, I thought I would start my talk with a story of obedience from the Book of Mormon. Ammon is sent with the Sons of Mosiah to the Land of Nephi by the Lord to preach to the Lamanites who occupied the land. In Alma chapter 17 Ammon is captured upon entry into the Land of Ishmael and brought before King Lamoni. He says to Lamoni that his intention is to dwell among them and to be the servant of Lamoni. This action would seem contrary to bringing the gospel to this people, but it was done in obedience to the commandment of the Lord when he said in Alma chapter 17: 11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls. He covenanted with the Lord in that same verse that he would make him an instrument in his hands to bring many to Salvation. Ammon obeyed the counsel of the Lord and did bring a great number to a knowledge of the Gospel. He exemplified the Savior as he commended himself to the service of all those he met, even King Lamoni.
Brothers and sisters, I have been given the privilege to become a modern Ammon or son of Mosiah; I have the chance to bring salvation to my brothers and my sisters in Colombia, and it is my prayer that I can become an instrument in God’s hands similarly to my scriptural hero Ammon.
Many of you are probably familiar with the Bible account found in Genesis of the commandment given to Abraham to sacrifice his only begotten son on mount Moriah. Abraham had 2 sons, but only one was related by blood to him, and that was Isaac. Abraham was instructed by God to take his son’s life and offer him as a burnt sacrifice. As he is about to finish what the Lord had instructed, an angel stops him saying in Chapter 22 verse 12 “Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Abraham exemplified great faith as he willingly prepared his own child for an offering to God. This account is also a type or symbol of the Atonement and Crucifixion of the Savior. God has many children, but his only begotten in the flesh was Jesus Christ much like how Abraham had two children but Isaac was his direct lineage. Both are recorded many times saying how much they love their children, but yet they must sacrifice their most beloved for the good of others. Isaac was spared, and it says in later verses that an Angel instructed Abraham to find a ram that was caught in a thicket and sacrifice it instead. Jesus Christ performed the greatest sacrifice for us as he atoned for the sins of the world, and the type of the ram is a symbol that there is no replacement for Jesus’ sacrifice, the Atonement. By obedience to God, Abraham was blessed by an angelic representative of the Lord in verses 17 and 18 that his posterity would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens or as the sands of the seashores and that that posterity would possess the gate of their enemies and that his seed would be blessed on all the nations of Earth. And all of this because of his obedience to the will of God.
Many on earth today believe that obedience to law, and especially God’s Law, is restrictive. There are some who ridicule church members for obeying the teachings of a modern day Prophet, saying that following the law of Chastity, or Word of Wisdom, Tithes and Offerings, or even missionary service for able young men only tightens the reins on your life. They say that they are more free by following their own will. Contrastly, we know that God’s will is the law of the earth we live on and that his priesthood is endless. Our lives and ability to even choose that will in the first place is a great gift that God shares with us out of love for his children. By taking that gift and saying that you can govern yourself without any divine help is foolish and selfish. By obedience to His precepts we share more and more things with our Father in Heaven, and he extends our abilities opening up many more windows of opportunity for us to do good in this world. Though His way may be undeviating and more laborious in the beginning, we are heirs to all our Father has and we are infinitely more rewarded in comparison to our actions. Satan on the other hand, advertises ease or false comforts and if we are successfully lured we are led down a path that becomes less and less exciting and quickly morphs into a burden that we are forced to let prod us like cattle until we are at the end of the path. By pride fully ignoring the blessing of obedience we are encircled by the devices of Satan. Christ reaffirms this doctrine when he says in D&C 56: 3 “Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken”. However, we are never abandoned by God. He wishes for all of his sheep to come back to his fold, and his plan is sufficient that all can return. (D&C 98:22)
John 7:17 states “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” This tells us that our faith may be tried and we may choose to believe what we will. But when we fully adhere to that which we are commanded we are given a sure witness that the commandment was for our good. This has been a pattern in my own life that has helped me to know myself and to know God.
I have been blessed by him to preach to the people in Colombia
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.