Saturday, February 13, 2016

Harold B. Lee on blessings that follow sacrifice and faithfulness

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"As I look at the experiences of our brethren and hear their testimonies, I become persuaded of one great truth: Whenever the Lord has a great blessing for one of his children, he puts that son or daughter in the way to make a great sacrifice....
"If in this day the Church rises to the call of the First Presidency, and if Church members sacrifice of their means, their time, their talents for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God, not withholding their own lives, if that were necessary, then there will come to this people, and to that individual who thus is willing to consecrate himself, the greatest joy that can come to the human soul.
"God bless us that we might teach our youth the way by which this happiness will come, and let us plan our [activities] for youth in such a way to give youth the opportunity to [serve] their leaders rather than for their leaders to make all the sacrifice for the benefit of youth. Give them the joy of service and expect from them such sacrifices as may be necessary to build the faith necessary to lay hold upon eternal life (1 Tim. 6:19)."
- Harold B. Lee, "On Earning Salvation," Conference Report, Apr. 1947, pp. 45-51
Click here to read the full talk

This is a powerful testimony from President Lee — the Lord prepares us for great blessings by putting us in position to make great sacrifices. It seems to me that a faithful servant who experiences challenges and difficulties in life will learn to anticipate the blessings that must follow. As our hymn teaches, "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven."

President Lee also witnesses that "to that individual who thus is willing to consecrate himself, the greatest joy that can come to the human soul." Consecration is the ultimate and complete willingness to sacrifice, regardless of the circumstance or need. So it's not surprising that it should be linked to joy.

So then the final challenge President Lee offers is to teach youth how to sacrifice and serve—how to begin to learn consecration. That is the way to build faith in the rising generation.

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