Inviting Our Friends to Experience the Blessings of the Gospel

Area Leadership Message

Elder Hirst
Elder Karl Hirst Area Seventy

We love those times in life when we feel invincible.  They are a stark contrast to the other far less enjoyable times that we all experience. After a tender experience where I feel forgiven, when those I love make good choices, when I hear a great talk or lesson that speaks directly to my heart - it feels great!

As I reflected on one of those times recently, attempting to put the experience into words, I found myself describing it as feeling ‘lit up’ inside. I felt brighter, lighter and more positive. I knew that my troubles wouldn’t go away but I felt energized in facing them. I had found some encouraging happiness to punctuate my more ordinary experience of life, even in the presence of challenges.

In connection with the request to write this message, I remembered the Savior’s words to the Nephites “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people.”

The two thoughts connected in my mind.  I was really being ‘lit up’ by the joy of the Gospel, as a divine tenderness, and I then had an obligation not only to enjoy the comfort that it gave but to allow the light to be seen by those around me.  The Savior continued “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid… [D]o men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house; Therefore, let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

I can see that the happiness I receive from Heaven is not only designed to be a blessing to me but to others too. I am to let them see the happiness I have been given and the good things that it energizes me to do.

Surely there isn’t a better way to share the Gospel than to be visibly happy as we live it? It sounds like the perfect complement to the “great plan of happiness[3]” that we should share the gospel most effectively by being happy. By extension, if we want to do our part in this great and final gathering, I am not sure that we could do any better than to spend our time pursuing happiness in the Lord’s way. That sounds like the kind of missionary work we should all be prepared to sign up for.

If we take the time to remember that we are happy, that our happiness is a gift from God and that great happiness is always found in living as our Heavenly Father planned then we will be a “peculiar people”- and for the right reasons.

The apostle Paul put these thoughts another way.  He made the inspired suggestion that we “sanctify the Lord God in [our] hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh [us] a reason of the hope that is in [us].”

The happiness of the Gospel brings me hope in my challenges. It wouldn’t be wise simply to pretend that my challenges don’t exist but I can plan to concentrate on those instances of happiness that come my way and avoid letting the trying bushels of life’s troubles hide them from my view and the sight of others.  Instead, I can try and let the light of that happiness illuminate what I and those around me see.