- The Latter-day Saints are a covenant people. From the day of baptism through the spiritual milestones of our lives, we make promises with God and He makes promises with us. He always keeps His promises offered through His authorized servants, but it is the crucial test of our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with Him.
He speaks about a man he once met that talked about his home and visiting teachers always coming to visit with smiles and plates of cookies. He talks about the frustration that this man expressed that the home teachers never stopped coming despite their non-interest in the gospel. President Eyring went on to explain to this man that members of the church covenant with God at baptism that we will stand as witnesses of God and comfort those in need of comfort.
- Every member has made the covenant in the waters of baptism to be a witness for God. Every member has made a covenant to do works of kindness as the Savior would do. So any call to bear witness and to care for others is not a request for extra service; it is a blessing designed by a loving Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. They have provided such calls as well as other settings, sometimes without a formal call, all for the same purpose. Each is a chance to prove what blessings flow from being a covenant people, and each is an opportunity for which you agreed to be accountable. Each is a sacred responsibility for others accepted in the waters of baptism but too often not met because it may not be recognized for what it is.
No place is more important to keep and demonstrate our covenants than in the home. The church has made changes to our meeting schedules to allow time for family time and family home evening. These moments should be used to give service, study scriptures, and teach about the gospel.
- Prophets in our time have consolidated our meetings on Sunday to allow time for families to be together. The prophets have also been inspired to help us reserve Monday night for family home evenings. Those opportunities require choices. In thousands of homes the choices made are guided by the covenant to comfort those that stand in need of comfort and to stand as witnesses of God. Both the consolidation of the Sunday meetings and the creation of a family home evening are to provide opportunity for families to have time together to give Christlike service and to study the scriptures and gospel principles.
- There are few places where the covenant to love and to bear witness is more easily kept than in the home.
Covenants kept and honored will bring about great blessings from Heaven. God always keeps his covenant with us.
- Because God always honors covenants, I can make a promise to those who in faith keep the covenant to create experiences of giving love and bearing testimony with their families. They will reap a harvest of hearts touched, faith in Jesus Christ exercised unto repentance, and the desire and the power to keep covenants strengthened.
Sharing the gospel is part of a covenant we make with God. It is important to remember that what we say is often overshadowed by how we show that we care by our actions.
- Because we are under covenant to be a witness, we will try to tell them how the gospel has brought us happiness. What they think of what we say may depend largely on how much they sense we care for them.
President Eyring reminds us that we will be held accountable in the future for failing to show love and bear testimony to others.
- If we fail to feel and show honest concern for those we approach with the gospel, they will reasonably distrust our message. But if out of fear of rejection we fail to tell them what the gospel has meant in our lives and could mean in theirs, we will someday share their sorrow. Either in this life or in the life to come, they will know that we failed to share with them the priceless gift of the gospel. They will know that accepting the gospel was the only way for them to inherit eternal life. And they will know that we received the gospel with a promise that we would share it.
Two promises are made by President Eyring that we can all rely on.
- I can make two promises to those who offer the gospel to others. The first is that even those who reject it will someday thank us. My second promise is that as you offer the gospel to others, it will go down more deeply into your own heart.
He concludes talking about sharing our testimony, fasting, and paying a generous fast offering are demonstrations of our covenants.
- A testimony is a simple expression of what we feel. The member who has fasted both for the blessing of the poor and for the companionship of the Spirit will be feeling gratitude for the love of God and the certainty of eternal truth. Even a child can feel such things, which may be why sometimes the testimony of a child so moves us and why our preparation of fasting and prayer produces in us childlike feelings.
- That preparation for the fast and testimony meeting is a covenant obligation for members of the Church. The offering of the gospel to those we meet and to our families are covenant obligations. We can take heart that our honest effort to keep our covenants allows God to increase our power to do it. We all need that assurance at times when our promise to love and to witness seems hard for us.
- The fruit of keeping covenants is the companionship of the Holy Ghost and an increase in the power to love. That happens because of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change our very natures. We are eyewitnesses of that miracle of greater spiritual power coming to those who accept covenants and keep commandments.
What really stuck out to me in this talk is that part of our test of mortality is to see if we will first make covenants with God, and second, will we be faithful in keeping those covenants. We all make covenants at baptism. It would be good for all of us to go back and reread the covenants that the people of Alma made when they entered the waters of baptism. Those same covenants apply to us. God wants to bless us for our faithfulness. The sharing of the gospel with others will bring great blessings as God sees this as part of the covenant we made with Him at baptism. We are wise to remember that God always keeps His covenants with us. It needs to be our mission in life to try to keep our covenants with Him.