Posted by: 1of10boyz | August 10, 2014

Where Much Is Given

I had someone wonder to me the other day how I could believe in God.

It is a tough question to answer when you are both from the same culture and have had similar experiences in your life that makes it possible to relate to each other. I have answered that question many times as a Mormon while on my mission in So Cal. I have been able in most of those instances to explain why I believe such a thing. Even then, I realize now, the similarities of my life experiences were nothing like those I was talking with. Many of them were struggling to survive in the America that they had only recently arrived in from circumstance far removed from what I knew as a boy from Wyoming. Yet, in most cases I was able to help them increase their faith in a Being that loves them beyond anything we can imagine. Under the strict conditions I am allowed to be a “believer” here in China I was not really able to answer the question because of the laws and regulations of being a foreigner in China. I look forward to the day when China allows foreigners to share their personal religious beliefs with its native citizens.

I have learned something in the past three years of living in China; I have learned that I will never really understand this people and I will never be able to fully appreciate how hard it was to grow up Chinese. I have lived and continue to live a sheltered life, even living here in China I am sheltered from much of what China is really like for the 1.4 billion people that call China home and know nothing about things that I know. I will never know what it is like to be a starving child that wants and needs food and there is none. I will never know what it is like to hear stories of my grandparents and their treatment in the Cultural Revolution because they happened to have been college educated. I will never know what it was like to have to sell my children in order to have enough food to live. I hopefully will never have to experience a famine where I will be so hungry that I have to eat human flesh to survive. Yet, here in China there are people around me and that I work with that have personally had or know people who have had those conditions in their lives. I am awed by the challenge that they have endured such hardships in such recent history. You see, now even I, a sheltered country boy from Wyoming, KNOW people, and consider them my friends, who have had these conditions in their lives. I can easily understand why some might wonder how anyone could believe in a God where these kinds of things could happen and be part of a plan that provides happiness to ALL of His children.

It isn’t even just limited to China; so many other places are not much better. The world is filled with places that are tough to live in, yet 100s of millions upon 100s of millions live in those conditions while so very few live where the necessities of life are taken for granted. Sadder still is that this has always been the case; the masses of humanity are always at a disadvantage and rarely if ever do they experience the best things of life. Their lives are filled with struggle and challenge. They are often required to deal with bloodshed, horror, and strife all the days of their lives. Few are the times that they will experience happiness and joy, yet in most cases you will find that they are happy most of the time.

In search of plastic bottles

In search of plastic bottles

As terrible as all of physical and emotional trouble is, as a Christian we know that it is nothing compared to the spiritual challenges that they are required to face. So very few will ever get to hear about Jesus Christ and his message and even fewer of those will accept him as their Savior and Redeemer. Where is our compassion if we think that theirs is eternal damnation when they have so many struggles to survive that thoughts of eternity never enter their minds?

I am humbled that my life circumstances were and are so much different.

As a parent I not only worry about my salvation and my eternity but that of my children, grandchildren, and posterity that is yet, but a twinkle in my eye. I worry that my flesh and blood will not recognize the fortunate circumstance they were born under and will squander away the opportunities that are theirs. I know in my heart that God will not forget that they were blessed with opportunities nearly without measure where others of His children were given very little. On judgment day all things will be made equal and the bar for those that were blessed with much will be higher than those that were given little.

The expectations for our salvation and our exaltation will require that we labored diligently in the vineyard all the days of our lives because we were privileged to have lived where we knew of this requirement. Yet there are many that knew not of this vineyard even until the very end and they will receive even the same reward that we should. I reflect often on the parable of Matthew 20: 1-16 and how it relates to our lives and the efforts we must exert in our quest to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Yes, we have indeed borne the burden and heat of the day if we strive all the days of our lives to live His gospel. Our reward is known unto us for this effort and we rejoice because we know it waits for us. There are many others that will only learn of this near the end of their lives and far more that will only learn of it after they have exited this life and return unto that God that gave them life.

Jesus Christ concludes his parable with a concept and the purpose of the parable that he wished to teach in Verse 16: “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are called, but few are chosen. In many ways this is a reflection upon the Jews that were within His voice (the first) and a foretelling of the Gospel going out to everyone after Peter’s vision of eating “unclean” things (Acts 10). It also tells (as does Matthew 7: 13-14) that the path is narrow and straight and few will be successful in attaining the prize of exaltation and eternal life.

My posterity like so many others I know that live in the comforts of a free society, where religion is a guarantee by the laws of the land, will have the greater challenge at the day of judgment. In my opinion they are those who have been called. They have had the opportunity at an early age to learn of the love of a kind and loving Savior. They have been given the opportunity to live in the home of a “believer” all the while that they were growing up. They have seen miracles in my life that confirm that there is Priesthood Power restored upon the earth today. They have learned since their youth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have all had the opportunities to have been in The Temple of The Most High God to feel of His Spirit there. They were born under the covenant of a family that was sealed by Priesthood Authority for Time and All Eternity. They have had and continue to have the luxury of comfort and leisure that billions in the world today do not have; they do have and should have their thoughts about the eternities and how they will required to stand and to report what they did with the life they were blessed with.

I believe that most of you that will read this will not have the luxury at that moment, standing before the judgment seat, and saying that “if I had been blessed with these opportunities I would have lived as I was required and expected”. We will be accountable for the opportunities that were ours. We are all in a situation that is similar to that described in Luke 12: 41-48. We have been given much. We are all going to be required to do much. We are being asked to do much in return for that which we have been given. We are asked to do more because we were given more.

When we consider how much we have been given in comparison to the billions that will never know Jesus The Christ and what that means from an eternal perspective, we have much to give and much to do. Let us not be faint but look to how we can meet the expectation that is our responsibility. We must do all that is within our power to even hope for the best results in front of that judgment bar; where we can hope to hear the words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord”. (Matthew 25)


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