Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve counseled members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to come closer to the Savior in order to avoid feelings of entitlement.
“The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement,” Elder Renlund said, quoting Elder Wilford W. Anderson of the Seventy.
Elder Renlund said this principle can be found in the church’s welfare system. Members are encouraged to turn first to their families for help, and then, if necessary, they are encouraged to go to their church leaders for assistance.
“Family members and local church leaders that are closest to those in need, frequently have faced similar circumstances, and understand how to best help,” Elder Renlund said. “Because of their proximity to the ‘givers,’ recipients who receive help according to this pattern are grateful and less likely to feel entitled.”
Elder Renlund then explained how this principle can be found in the relationship the saints have with their Savior and Heavenly Father.
“Our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ are the ultimate givers. The more we distance ourselves from them, the more entitled we feel. We begin to think that we deserve grace and are owed blessings,” Elder Rendlund said.
He gave examples of the difference made by our proximity to God and Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon by contrasting Nephi and his older brothers, Laman and Lemuel.
“God is more pleased with repentant sinners who are trying to draw closer to him than with self-righteous, fault finding individuals who, like the Pharisees and scribes of old, do not realize how badly they need to repent,” he said.
Elder Renlund taught that in order for the saints to draw closer to God, they need to increase their faith in Him, keep the Holy Ghost with them, and respond to the spiritual direction they receive.
“All of these elements come together in the sacrament,” Elder Renlund said. “Indeed the best way I know of to draw closer to God is to prepare conscientiously to partake worthily of the sacrament each week.”
Elder Renlund shared a story of woman who was accidentally skipped during the sacrament one week. After the meeting, a priesthood holder took her to a separate room and administered the sacrament to her. Elder Renlund drew the connection of the personal experience of a sacrament given just for the individual, and the Atonement given for each individual.
“The sacrament truly helps us to know our Savior,” Elder Renlund said. “It also reminds us of His innocent suffering. If life were truly fair, you and I would never be resurrected; you and I would never be able to stand clean before God. In this respect I am thankful life is not fair.”