We've posted some information before about the church's self-reliance initiative. However, the recent training put the spirit into our understanding. Here are some important spiritual lessons that we have learned:
- Our main purpose is to invite others to Christ. The most important thing we do is testify of Christ.
- Our focus is on people and their needs.
- Everything we do in this life, no matter how physical it seems, has a spiritual basis. That applies to all the training we will be doing in self-reliance - it is a spiritual work.
- There could have been no Atonement without the character of Christ.
- One of our personal study priorities should be to examine His life and determine those characteristics. We want to serve others as He did and that means striving to become like Him.
- One thing we know about Christ is that he was selfless. He turned outwards to help others when most of us would turn inwards. Given our natural tendencies, always thinking about others is a difficult characteristic to develop.
- Another characteristic is that Christ listened to people. He asked many question. He listened to the Spirit. Only then did he speak or act. If we want to help others, we need to develop these same skills.
- We want to be kind and considerate to others - much more so than we are at present! In other words, we want to treat people as Christ would treat them if He were present. And the most important person to whom we should apply that skill is to our life long companion!
- The scriptures are a springboard to testimony and personal revelation. This is particularly true of the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, which speak so much of Christ.
- Love everyone that you serve. Never mind if you like them - love them! Look for the positive and see the good in people and in their culture.
- Each of us has two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak. Then listen to the Spirit. Then we can teach so that both the teacher and the student understand one another.
- When we have an open heart and an open mind, the Lord will reveal what we are to do.
- No one is alone and no problem, temporal or spiritual, is too small or too big for the Saviour.
- It is important to learn doctrine first and then figure out how to apply it.
- Local solutions developed by local people are almost always better than solutions imposed from the outside.
We like a poem that we heard last week. This is from our memory and it was a translation, so we may not have it right:
"Come to the edge.", He said.
"Come to the edge.", He said.
"Come To The Edge!", He said.
So we came to the edge.
And He pushed us....
And we flew!
So, those are some of the spiritual lessons. We also learned many things about our specific calling in self-reliance. We will discuss some of those learnings in other posts, when we have actually had some time "in the field".
To whet your appetite, we did learn that "...self-reliance is the ability, commitment and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for yourself and your family...."
In speaking about a Zion society, Elder Todd Christofferson (a modern day apostle) said that we must "...care for the poor and the needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us..." That is the challenge of the self-reliance initiative.
It does feel odd leaving with a big winter jacket packed in our suitcase. But it is winter in Melbourne for a while yet and a lot of homes do not have central heating. So...we will go prepared!