ISSUES OF FAITH: Lessons well learned through examples

MUCH OF WHAT I learned in my youth about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ came at the knee of my grandmother, Maggie Alldredge.

As a single mom, my mother worked during the day and I would spend that time with my grandmother.

I remember my grandmother’s well-read scriptures beside her chair on the end table. We would read together from The Book of Mormon and The Bible.

I saw verses that she had underlined with a red pencil and maybe some notes in the margins.

I think of her kneeling by her bedside and praying. She prayed earnestly. That taught me a lot about her faith in God.

I remember in rain, snow or sunshine, she went to church on Sunday. From this, I learned about her devotion to God.

Looking back on those memories, I can’t recall a lot of what was said. Yet her example impacted me, even now as a parent with children, some of whom are now adults.

It’s like the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” I marvel at the influence her good example had on my life.

When I was a missionary in France in 1991, our mission leader Neil L. Andersen would have one-on-one discussions with the missionaries to see how we were doing.

While speaking to us, he would ask us to remove our shoes. He would pull out a shoe-shine kit, and he would polish our shoes while we spoke — 32 years later, I still think of it.

While he never made this comparison, I have thought of this scripture many times since my mission.

In John 13, we read of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet:

14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

This simple act of kindness from my mission president, who is now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has caused me to reflect on what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

Each year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a theme for the youth.

This year’s youth theme is found in The Book of Mormon, in 3 Nephi 5:13.

It says, “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.”

Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ is often about our actions more than our words. How do we treat others?

In John 13, Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Our actions show the world who we follow and what we are all about.

Another scripture that teaches the same idea about how to recognize a disciple of Jesus Christ is found in Matthew 7:20, “Wherefore, by their fruits, ye shall know them.”

I have regrets from times in my life when I have been less than I should have been.

Thankfully, through the infinite atonement and grace of Jesus Christ, we can repent of our sins and be forgiven.

I still fall short, but I strive to improve each day.

The prophet Moroni taught, “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him,” Moroni 7:47.

I’m grateful for my grandmother and others in my life who have demonstrated love and charity through their actions.

Their examples illustrate to me how to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Bishop Jason Bringhurst is the leader of the Mount Pleasant Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Port Angeles, ComeUntoChrist.org. His email is jasonbring@gmail.com.

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