ISSUES OF FAITH: Look close to see the potential

I HAVE ALWAYS had a love for cars. As a boy, I would save up to buy Matchboox cars and Hot Wheels. When I was old enough to buy my own car, I would spend hours fixing it up and detailing it.

I love to look at cars for sale online. Occasionally, I will buy one that I see has potential and fix it up. My wife is less enthusiastic about my passion for cars, but she is lovingly tolerant of my peculiar hobby.

I recently purchased a 1981 GMC truck. It was showing its age, but I saw a ton of potential. I’ve been doing some things here and there to make it shine and keep it on the road for many more years.

When I purchase a car that needs some work, I have in my mind’s eye a vision of what the car could look like with some restoration, upgrades and elbow grease.

I love to see the transformation that happens. Sometimes, I will take pictures before and after. My children humor me and tell me how wonderful it looks compared to the before photo, as I stare wide-eyed at the picture, grinning like Clark Griswald looking at the Christmas lights on his house.

At this point, some of you are thinking, “What on earth does this have to do with the Issues of Faith column? Did I stumble upon an automotive section of the newspaper?” Hold your horsepower. Let me explain.

As the bishop of the Mt. Pleasant Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I work with youth regularly. I look at them and see wonderful potential. I imagine the fantastic things that they will do in their lives. I notice their goodness and kindness. I appreciate their talents and accomplishments. I watch in awe as they grow and learn more about the Savior and His gospel.

I then reflect on how our Heavenly Father must look at the rising generation. He knows of their incredible capabilities and their marvelous potential.

I wish our youth could see a glimpse of what I recognize in them, what their parents see in them, and their divine potential and heritage as children of our Heavenly Father. I hope they know deeply of God’s great love for them.

It is difficult sometimes to see our own potential. We may think it’s too late to change after one is set in their ways.

However, I don’t think that the Lord thinks it is ever too late. His timetable is much different than ours. Because of our heavenly DNA, we all have amazing glory and possibilities that await us. Eternity is a very long time for us to learn line upon line, precept on precept.

The church’s youth theme this year is found 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.” A disciple is a follower, someone who is improving and trying to become more like Jesus.

This rising generation is smart, charitable, compassionate and inherently good. Add the desire to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and they are magnificent.

Like the old GMC truck, some might look at the outside and might not see the potential.

Some of us may need encouragement and someone to help us recognize our own divine potential.

God knows each of us perfectly. A loving Heavenly Father wants us to have joy in our life. He trusts us.

When we make room for God in our life; when we look at others with charity, love and compassion; and when we become a disciple of Jesus Christ, we begin to see who we really are, beloved children of our Heavenly Father with a divine nature and eternal destiny.

_________

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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