"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto atreasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field" (Matthew 13:44).
Recently a dear friend and fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the city of Santa Rosa sent me a message of considerable length via facebook. Therein she shared with great enthusiasm a powerful missionary experience she had had with one of her friends while reading the Book of Mormon. It was inspiring to read how much her friend related to the experience of Nephi, one of the principal writers, and how the Spirit had worked with him to leave an impression of truth on his soul. There was also found within her tale a sobering message. In her own words she states "[When] I gave him the Book of Mormon he held it close to his chest like it was the most precious thing anyone had ever given him and thanked me many times for it. I know it is a great gift, but I've always had one, to see his reaction to getting it really made me grateful for how I was raised." Later on she writes, "I totally understand Doctrine and Covenants 18:15 so much better now. How exciting it must be to be a missionary and have this kind of experience on a regular basis. I feel like my heart could just leap out of my chest and dance around."
The thought quickly came to my mind, "Do I have this experience daily? Perhaps weekly? At least monthly?" Too much time had elapsed that I had not considered the shear magnanimity of the experience it is to listen to someone's concerns and then to reach out lovingly by sharing one's testimony of the gospel. Doctrine and Covenants 18:15 teaches us that " if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" Indeed the gospel is joy. I know it is through personal experience. It is a treasure and we can be the treasure maps that will lead souls to uncover an unexpected but much-welcomed abundance of blessings. Thank you sister, whose identity I will protect, for reminding us of the eternal implications of missionary work and of the great joy that we should feel as we serve. We must never take for granted any of the beautiful gifts that we have recieved nor any of the beautiful people we serve. This is my prayer for all of us tonight.