- We try to do what is right because we love and want to please our Father in Heaven, not because someone is forcing us to obey.
- In the Church, stewardship is not limited to a temporal trust or responsibility. A faithful steward is one who exercises righteous dominion, cares for his own, and looks to the poor and needy.
He decides to address two specific areas of stewardship during he talk today:
- While there are many areas of stewardship, I have chosen to address two. The first is stewardship of ourselves and our families. The second is stewardship for the poor and needy.
STEWARDSHIP OF OURSELVES
Elder Cook shares a story of his Father returning to the farm he spent most of his life caring for. On the farm was a spring of fresh water that he fenced and protected from outside elements. Upon returning to the farm after many years away, he learned that the fences hadn't been kept up and that cows overran the water polluting it. He compares this to virtue and chastity in our lives.
- Just as the pure spring was polluted when not protected, we live in a time when virtue and chastity are not safeguarded. The eternal significance of personal morality is not respected. A loving Father in Heaven has provided us with the means to bring His spirit children into this world to fulfill the full measure of their creation. He has instructed us that the wellsprings of life are to be kept pure, just as the beautiful spring on the ranch required protection in order to sustain life. This is one of the reasons why virtue and chastity are so important in our Father in Heaven’s plan. As servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is our sacred responsibility to teach His standard of morality, which is the same for all of His children. When our thoughts or our actions are impure, we violate His standard. The Lord has said, “I … cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” Some attempt to rationalize away their conduct.
He speaks of those that have sinned and in the amazing power of the Atonement to set things right again in our lives.
- We are aware that there are those who have already engaged in conduct inconsistent with this sacred standard of morality. Please understand that through the Savior’s Atonement, all can repent and return, like the spring of water, to a clean and pure state. It is difficult to repent; it requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit. But when the steps to repentance are righteously followed, the words spoken by the prophet Alma to his son Corianton, who had been involved in moral transgressions, are applicable: “And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.” The Savior has said, “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.”
When our day comes to be judged by God and we give an accounting of our lives, two things will be most important to God.
- With respect to our stewardship for our families, some have taught that when we report to the Savior and He asks us to give an account of our earthly responsibilities, two important inquiries will relate to our families. The first will be our relationship with our spouse, and the second will be about each of our children.
Focusing on our responsibility as parents, he states:
- Remember that having religious observance in the home is as important as providing food, clothing, and shelter.
- Children who are not taught that they are accountable for their time and talents are increasingly subject to the foolishness and unrighteousness that are so pervasive in the world.
STEWARDSHIP FOR THE POOR AND NEEDY
Elder Cook shares:
- The Lord’s admonition that we are stewards for those in need contains some of the strongest language in all of scripture: “If any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion … unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.” We are accountable as stewards over earthly blessings, which the Lord has provided.
During the economic crisis he noted the dedication of the Saints as represented by their generous fast offerings.
- It was remarkable that Church members across the world would fast monthly and then make a freewill offering for the benefit of those who are in need. Even in difficult economic times, our members, concerned about the challenges experienced by many, continue to donate generously to help the poor and needy.
Elder Cook concludes with words of appreciation for the members of the church who sacrifice so much for the Kingdom of God.
- In all of our stewardship efforts, we follow Jesus Christ. We try to emulate what He has asked us to do, both by His teachings and His example. With all our hearts we express our appreciation to the membership of the Church for their generous contributions and Christlike service.
The Lord needs us to take our stewardship seriously. He uses his faithful followers on Earth to touch the hearts and provide the means of lifting others to a higher level. If we are faithful and willing to respond, the Lord will use us to help His other children along the path. It is my prayer that when the Lord needs me, I will be ready, able, and willing to respond to lift whoever He needs me to help.