“If Christ Had My Opportunities …” Ensign, Nov. 2005, 35–37
Many years ago, when our oldest children were six, four, and two, my wife and I sprang a pop quiz on them. We had been reading daily as a family from the Book of Mormon.
“Who was the man,” my wife inquired, “who went into the forests to hunt, but, instead, prayed all day and into the night?”
After a few moments of silence, she ventured to help: “His name starts with an E … e … e … e … e.”
From the corner of the room, our two-year-old called out, “Nos!”
This child was the one who was playing in the corner—the one that we had thought was too little to understand. Enos! It was Enos who had gone into the forests to hunt but hungered for his own soul. Though his record does not say that he was lost in that forest, the story of Enos teaches us that he came out found—and then, feeling a desire for the welfare of his brothers.
In the New Testament, our Savior Jesus Christ teaches us the importance of seeking after the one who is lost:
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
“And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing” (Luke 15:4–5).
Since the Fall of Adam, all mankind are in a lost and fallen state. Like most of you, my being “found” started with two faithful missionaries. In the year 1913, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Elders C. Earl Anhder and Robert H. Sorenson taught my grandparents the gospel of Jesus Christ and baptized them. My parents taught me the importance of hard work, honesty, and integrity. However, in one short generation we became lost to activity in the Church and a knowledge of the gospel. Looking back, I recall, at a very young age, my playmates inviting me to Primary. My first Church experience was built around Primary friendships.
As a boy several months shy of my 12th birthday, one Saturday afternoon I answered a knock at my front door. Several of my friends—deacons dressed in white shirts and ties—sought me out to come to my very first priesthood meeting. Our leader walked beside me as we made our way down the hill to the Tabernacle on Temple Square. That was April general conference priesthood session.
Lloyd Bennett was my Scoutmaster. Very often on a Saturday afternoon he would pick me up and take me to the Scout office to buy needed badges and supplies. As we rode, we talked. He became a trusted friend. Lloyd Bennett, like so many, took time for the one.
These wonderful friends and leaders understood Elder M. Russell Ballard’s recent counsel to “find … one more” (“One More,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2005, 71), and they understood what that entailed. Sometimes it’s the one in the corner whom we hadn’t considered.
My own Enos experience came at 18 years of age as I knelt in my army barracks in Fort Ord, California. After the lights were out and I knelt on a hard floor, like Enos I came away found. I was to serve a full-time mission. My heart is filled with gratitude for the many who assisted in helping me to come to know who I am and to know of Christ and His gospel. I came to understand that my way home is through our Savior Jesus Christ.
“And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else” (Alma 11:40).
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah, in seeing our day when the gospel would be fully restored, declared:
“Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders” (Isa. 49:22).
As we care for the one, brothers and sisters, we see the fulfillment of that prophecy. Can you see how you have been carried in arms and on shoulders—carried to safety?
What would our Savior do with the opportunities that we have to affect the one? As we apply that principle If Christ had my opportunities, what would He do? our decisions in life will be Christ-centered.
I know personally that our beloved Elder Neal A. Maxwell always sought to find the one. For, as Nephi, he labored “diligently to write, to persuade [all of us] to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God” (2 Ne. 25:23). I know that Elder Maxwell made more than one call to those, even to the one, that he was trying to bring unto Christ.
Whether we are a Primary teacher, Young Men or Young Women leader, Scoutmaster, home teacher, visiting teacher, or friend, the Lord will use us, if we will listen, to seek out and find the one.
How grateful I am for the decision to serve a full-time mission, which became a great turning point in my life. Young men, you have the privilege of serving, even to labor diligently. Stay worthy; prepare to preach the gospel; do not delay—go and serve! Young women, you can do so much to build the kingdom. Dear seniors, we need you!
Our family had the privilege of serving in Canada with wonderful, dedicated elders, sisters, and senior missionaries. With heart to heart, spirit to spirit, and in the strength of the Lord, they sought after the one and found him or her, as dedicated missionaries do the world over.
“And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer” (Mosiah 27:36).
Each one of us can make a difference in someone’s life, even his or her eternal life, but we must act; we must do; we must labor diligently. Perhaps you have received an impression to invite someone to return to church or to hear the message of the restored gospel for the first time. Go ahead, follow that impression. Why don’t we all invite someone to come tomorrow and listen to a prophet’s voice? Would you do that? Will you make that invitation today? With faith and a willing heart (even desire), we must trust that the Spirit will give us “in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what [we] shall say” (D&C 100:6). I know that to be so.
How grateful I am for this call to serve once again, this time in Australia. I express my eternal love and appreciation to my wife and our nine missionary-minded children for their love and support. I bear solemn witness that the fulness of the gospel is restored upon the earth, that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Today we are led by a living prophet, even President Gordon B. Hinckley. And I know that God lives, and I know that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. It is in the Shepherd’s loving arms and on His shoulders that we are carried home. Like Enos, may I humbly say: “I must preach … unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have … rejoiced in it above that of the world” (Enos 1:26). To these truths, I bear witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.