Students should be receptive to service offered to them and learn to depend on others for their spiritual well-being, said Kent Jackson, Tuesday’s Devotional speaker.
Jackson, a professor of ancient scripture in the School of Religious Education, shared his experiences with students in the de Jong Concert Hall of his learning to accept service in his life. He said as a young adult working with friends away from home, ward members would offer them home-cooked meals but they refused the service.
“We always turned them down,” Jackson said. “… You see we turned them down because we thought it was the noble thing to do as we could take care of ourselves and we didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.”
As he reflected on the moment years later, Jackson said he realized he was making a mistake and was being prideful.
“We were missing out on fellowshipping with kindly latter-day saints, but more important we were depriving others of the blessing of serving us, and we were depriving ourselves of the blessing of receiving their service,” Jackson said. “The real issue was pride.”
We are told to receive often in the church to depend on others, Jackson said. On becoming members of the church we are told to receive the Holy Ghost. We are told to receive Christ and his sacrifice, and receive the blessings of his sacrifice, he said.
“Indeed any notion that we have of spiritual accomplishment or self-sufficiency is shattered when we read the scriptures and we come to better understanding of the gospel,” Jackson said.
Jackson also shared an experience he had while touring on a bus in Turkey. As the bus stopped by a fruit and vegetable stand, a well-dressed Turkish boy came on the bus. He lovingly gave cucumbers to the American tourists. A tourist offered him money for the deed, but the boy refused. Eventually, the tourist insisted and stuffed money into the boy’s pocket. The boy’s expression changed from happiness to sadness, he said.
“I was heartbroken and embarrassed,” Jackson said. “The boy was deeply hurt, his act of love had been prostituted into an act of business.”
Jackson emphasizes the importance of relying on others as members of the church. Jackson said we learn dependence at a young age as we learn to walk, read and write. He said children rely on their parents for their survival and growth.
“The emotional bonds of mutual dependence within families is part of God’s plan,” Jackson said. “They are not intended to go away, even with death.”
Jackson said we realize the need for help oftentimes during periods of difficulty. God often answers prayers through other people. Jackson counseled students to listen to promptings they receive even if they are unsure of the reasons, since they may be acting as a “ministering angel” and an answer to someone’s prayer. Also, he counseled them to be humble and give thanks to the Lord, and follow King Benjamin’s advice in Mosiah 2:22, “he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if you do, he doth immediately bless you.”
Jackson said we are forever indebted to the Lord for His grace in doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves. He said God gives us many eternal gifts from His grace, that we cannot ever pay Him back for, we will always owe Him. Jackson admonished students to be thankful for God’s grace and to receive it in their lives.
“He stands at the door and knocks, sometimes in person, and sometimes through the service of others, but we are the ones who need to open the door and receive his blessings,” he said.