Saturday, September 24, 2011

Living the Gospel Makes Us Stand Out

Today I read Acts 27 where Paul is being transported to Rome in a ship. If I am reading it correctly, it makes it sound like they were fasting without food, all of those in the ship, for 14 days. That is incredible if that is the case. I do not think it is true and perhaps it means something else than what we normally think of as fasting. I just cannot even imagine being a sailor and all the rigors they have to endure, especially during a storm, without any substance for fourteen days!

Paul tries to warn them not to leave the isle of Crete that a storm is coming but they push off anyway and are caught up in a huge storm for many days. Paul comes to them and tells them that they will all be saved but that they are going to be shipwrecked. When they do become ship wrecked the sailors want to kill the prisoners so that they don't escape but the centurion in charge stops them because he wants to save Paul.

Paul seems to have a very commanding presence. People that are around him take him seriously and do as he asks. I wonder if that is because he is so full of the Spirit? People take notice of those who are full of the Spirit. I remember when I went through the temple for the first time it was in the Saint Louis temple. I was told by at least 3 people, workers, that I had a glow about me. When I asked my parents about it they said to them it was like my face was shining. I had never heard of something like that before that day and had only read about it in the scriptures. But when someone is full of the Spirit, even if only for a little while, it can't help but shine through, sometimes literally. As Latter-day Saints, or even upstanding Christians, people notice that we are different. They want what we have. I have a friend that all the time tells me how he wishes he could clone my wife and I tease him saying that even a clone of my wife would not have him because of his bad habits.

It often reminds me of how people look at a concert pianist and desire to be able to play as well as they do. But when they hear about the years and years of practice that that pianist had to put in, well their interest wanes considerably. It is the same with the Gospel. We look and we see someone like our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson and see how humble he is and say to ourselves that we wish we could be more like he is. But he is that way because of a life of humble service to God, of putting God's needs first. If we want the same results, we've got to follow the same recipe.

We are all meant to be an example unto the world. Even good, upstanding members of other Christian faiths do not typically live their religion to the extent that a typical Latter-day Saint does. We stand out in a good way and it's meant to be that way. I'm personally disgusted by how much this world is driven by alcohol. It drives me crazy that when my wife and I go out to a restaurant the waiter/waitress automatically assumes we will be drinking wine. I hate it. Dare to be different. I love being different from this messed up world. Stand as an example, be the city on the hill and God will use you as His instrument. You will be able to do wonderful things for Him. Until tomorrow.

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