Today I was blessed to give a lesson in church on Charity. It was simply amazing and as always, I think often that I get more out of the lessons than those I teach. I loved this story about what a touchstone is and how it works! “The touchstone of compassion is a measure of our discipleship; it is a measure of our love for God and for one another.”
The two great commandments are the Lord’s touchstone for our discipleship.
In ancient times, one test of the purity of gold was performed with a smooth, black, siliceous stone called a touchstone. When rubbed across the touchstone, the gold produced a streak or mark on its surface. The goldsmith matched this mark to a color on his chart of graded colors. The mark was redder as the amount of copper or alloy increased or yellower as the percentage of gold increased. This process showed quite accurately the purity of the gold.
The touchstone method of testing the purity of gold was quick and was satisfactory for most practical purposes. But the goldsmith who still questioned the purity completed a more accurate test by using a process that involved fire.
I suggest to you that the Lord has prepared a touchstone for you and me, an outward measurement of inward discipleship that marks our faithfulness and will survive the fires yet to come.
It made me ... with my efforts, that I will be strong enough to survive the hard times yet ahead of me. Being made equal to anything that the Lord needs me to do!
On one occasion while Jesus was teaching the people, a certain lawyer approached him and posed this question: “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus, the master teacher, replied to the man, who obviously was well-versed in the law, with a counter-question, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?”
The man replied with resolute summary the two great commandments: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
With approval Christ responded, “This do, and thou shalt live” (Luke 10:25–28).
The Savior taught us to love everyone, including those who may be difficult to love.
As if excusing himself for asking such a simple question of the Master, the lawyer sought to justify himself by further inquiring, “And who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:29).Of course one of the greatest parables was this one...Parable of the Good Samaritan...(Luke 10:30–35).
I love the words to one of my favorite hymns!
Savior, may I learn to love thee,
Walk the path that thou hast shown,
Pause to help and lift another,
Finding strength beyond my own. …
Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see. …
I would be my brother’s keeper;
I would learn the healer’s art.
To the wounded and the weary
I would show a gentle heart.
I would be my brother’s keeper—
Lord, I would follow thee.
(Hymns, 1985, no. 220.)
Charity is the pure love of Christ and will not fail. Loving others is “a more excellent way.”
This was a sweet story of someone that truly understands what Charity really means!
As a young man, Brother Vern Crowley said he learned something of the crucial lesson the Prophet Joseph had taught the early Saints in Nauvoo when he told them to “love others, even our enemies as well as friends.” This is a good lesson for each of us.
After his father became ill, Vern Crowley took responsibility for running the family wrecking yard although he was only fifteen years of age. Some customers occasionally took unfair advantage of the young man, and parts were disappearing from the lot overnight. Vern was angry and vowed to catch someone and make an example of him. Vengeance would be his.
Just after his father had started to recover from his illness, Vern was making his rounds of the yard one night at closing time. It was nearly dark. In a distant corner of the property, he caught sight of someone carrying a large piece of machinery toward the back fence. He ran like a champion athlete and caught the young thief. His first thought was to take out his frustrations with his fists and then drag the boy to the front office and call the police. His heart was full of anger and vengeance. He had caught his thief, and he intended to get his just dues.
Out of nowhere, Vern’s father came along, put his weak and infirm hand on his son’s shoulder, and said, “I see you’re a bit upset, Vern. Can I handle this?” He then walked over to the young would-be thief and put his arm around his shoulder, looked him in the eye for a moment, and said, “Son, tell me, why are you doing this? Why were you trying to steal that transmission?” Then Mr. Crowley started walking toward the office with his arm around the boy, asking questions about the young man’s car problems as they walked. By the time they had arrived at the office, the father said, “Well, I think your clutch is gone and that’s causing your problem.”
In the meantime, Vern was fuming. “Who cares about his clutch?” he thought. “Let’s call the police and get this over with.” But his father just kept talking. “Vern, get him a clutch. Get him a throwout bearing, too. And get him a pressure plate. That should take care of it.” The father handed all of the parts to the young man who had attempted robbery and said, “Take these. And here’s the transmission, too. You don’t have to steal, young man. Just ask for it. There’s a way out of every problem. People are willing to help.”
Brother Vern Crowley said he learned an everlasting lesson in love that day. The young man came back to the lot often. Voluntarily, month by month, he paid for all of the parts Vic Crowley had given him, including the transmission. During those visits, he asked Vern why his dad was the way he was and why he did what he did. Vern told him something of their Latter-day Saint beliefs and how much his father loved the Lord and loved people. Eventually the would-be thief was baptized. Vern later said, “It’s hard now to describe the feelings I had and what I went through in that experience. I, too, was young. I had caught my crook. I was going to extract the utmost penalty. But my father taught me a different way.”
A different way? A better way? A higher way? A more excellent way?
… Charity encompasses all other godly virtues. It distinguishes both the beginning and the end of the plan of salvation. When all else fails, charity—Christ’s love—will not fail. It is the greatest of all divine attributes.
Out of the abundance of his heart, Jesus spoke to the poor, the downtrodden, the widows, the little children; to farmers and fishermen, and those who tended goats and sheep; to strangers and foreigners, the rich, the politically powerful, as well as the unfriendly Pharisees and scribes. He ministered to the poor, the hungry, the deprived, the sick. He blessed the lame, the blind, the deaf, and other people with physical disabilities. He drove out the demons and evil spirits that had caused mental or emotional illness. He purified those who were burdened with sin. He taught lessons of love and repeatedly demonstrated unselfish service to others. All were recipients of his love.
what a great reminder today...the perfect one I needed! Hope you guys had a great Sabbath too!