May 10, 2015

On Being Genuine

by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

(Why is it that I have to look how to spell genuine every time I type the word?  I want to put the u after the g - guenuine - but that is not right.)

I think a good title for this talk would have been
Check Yo' Self!
Why do you do what you do?  Are you being authentic or are you putting on a show?

President Uchtdorf refers to this as 'Potemkin Village'.  I must be living under a rock because I had never heard this term before.  It "refers to any attempt to make others believe we are better than we really are."

So, let's stop and ask ourselves- 
Are Our Hearts in the Right Place?

"It is part of our human nature to want to look our best. . .There is nothing wrong with shining our shoes, smiling our best, or even hiding the dirty dishes before the home teachers arrive (PHEW! - because that's totally me.) However, when taken to extremes, this desire to impress can shift from useful to deceitful.  

This reminds me of the old movie Deck the Halls- where two neighbors try to make their outside Christmas lights better than the others.  They're not doing it to show Christmas Spirit, they're wanting praise and to be seen as the best, number 1.

". . .Do we sometimes try to appear active, prosperous, and dedicated outwardly when on the inside - as the Revelator said of the Ephesians - we have 'left [our] first love' (Revelation 2:4)."

"This temptation to appear better than we are is found not just in our personal lives but can be found in our Church assignments as well. . .Do [our organizational and personal goals] look impressive from a distance but fail to address the real needs of our beloved fellowmen?"

I need to really "CHECK YO' SELF"!
Am I visiting teaching because I am genuinely (there's that word again) concerned for my sisters or because I want the praise from getting 100%?

"If Jesus Christ were to sit down with us and ask for an accounting of our stewardship, I am not sure He would focus much on programs and statistics.  What the Savior would want to know is the condition of our heart.  He would want to know how we love and minister to those in our care, how we show our love to our spouse and family, and how we lighten their daily load.  And the Savior would want to know how you and I grow closer to Him and to our Heavenly Father."

This made me think of the quote that is attributed to Sister Hinckley:

“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden.
I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

"It may be beneficial to search our own hearts." - Check Yo' Self!

-"Why do [I] serve in the Church of Jesus Christ?

-"Why do I attend Church meetings, or the temple, or General Conference, etc?"

The correct answer would be because "I desire with all my heart to follow my Master, Jesus Christ, . . .to do all that He asks of me in this great cause,"

"Whether your testimony is thriving and healthy or your activity in the Church more closely resembles a Potemkin village, the good news is that you can build on whatever strength you have.  Here in the Church of Jesus Christ you can mature spiritually and draw closer to the Savior by applying gospel principles day by day."

"With patience and persistence, even the smallest act of discipleship or the tiniest ember of belief can become a blazing bonfire of a consecrated life.  In fact, that's how most bonfires begin - as a simple spark." (side-note:  If you have never read THE ARTICLE -Spiritual Bonfires of Testimony in the June 2002 New Era you really should!)
"So if you feel small and weak, please simply come unto Christ, who makes weak things strong.  The weakest among us, through God's grace, can become spiritually strong. . .the God of Creation, who breathed life into the universe, surely has the power to breath life into you.  Surely He can make of you the genuine, spiritual being of light and truth you desire to be."
image found HERE

This [change] cannot happen if we hide behind personal, dogmatic (strong and positive expression of opinion as if they were facts), or organizational facades.  Such artificial discipleship not only keeps us from seeing ourselves as who we really are, but it also prevents us from truly changing through the miracle of the Savior's Atonement."

"The Church, is not an automobile showroom- a place to put ourselves on display so that others can admire our spirituality, capacity, or prosperity.  It is more like a service center, where vehicles in need of repair come for maintenance and rehabilitation.  And are we not, all of us, in need of repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation?

"We come to church not to hide our problems but to heal them."

I think all of us yearn for praise and acknowledgement. It is a way we feel love, appreciated, and needed.  We want to be just as special as the person next to us.  Sometimes I think we have a tendency to forget that we are special.  Heavenly Father loves us all equally, but blesses us differently.  We (me included) would be happier if we follow the example of Jesus and strive to please only our Father in Heaven not man. 
 "[Christ's] single purpose was to serve His Father and 'do always the things that please Him."

"I pray. . . that as we serve in our families, [callings], wards,stakes, communities, and nations, we will resist the temptation to draw attention to ourselves and, instead, strive for a far greater honor; to become humble, genuine disciples of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  As we do so, we will find ourselves walking the path that leads to our best, most genuine, and noblest selves."