Monday, June 7, 2021

Elder D. Todd Christofferson on our gifts to the Savior

Elder Christofferson was born 70 years ago today (January 24, 1945). He was called to the Seventy in 1993, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2008.
"In ancient times when people wanted to worship the Lord and seek His blessings, they often brought a gift. For example, when they went to the temple, they brought a sacrifice to place on the altar. After His Atonement and Resurrection, the Savior said He would no longer accept burnt offerings of animals. The gift or sacrifice He will accept now is 'a broken heart and a contrite spirit' (3 Ne. 9:20). As you seek the blessing of conversion, you can offer the Lord the gift of your broken, or repentant, heart and your contrite, or obedient, spirit. In reality, it is the gift of yourself—what you are and what you are becoming. 
"Is there something in you or in your life that is impure or unworthy? When you get rid of it, that is a gift to the Savior. Is there a good habit or quality that is lacking in your life? When you adopt it and make it part of your character, you are giving a gift to the Lord. Sometimes this is hard to do, but would your gifts of repentance and obedience be worthy gifts if they cost you nothing? Don't be afraid of the effort required. And remember, you don't have to do it alone. Jesus Christ will help you make of yourself a worthy gift. His grace will make you clean, even holy. Eventually, you will become like Him, 'perfect in Christ' (see Moro. 10:32-33)." 
- D. Todd Christofferson, "When Thou Art Converted," General Conference April 2004
Click here to read the full talk

I've always loved the concept of replacing animal sacrifice with the personal offering of "a broken heart and a contrite spirit." It seems like such a beautiful expression of moving to a higher law. Elder Christofferson's interpretation is simple and clear:
broken = repentant
contrite = obedient

We repent in order to "get right" with the Lord; we obey in order to "stay right." That's what he asks us to symbolically lay upon the altar. We sacrifice our sins and our unworthy desires, replacing them with discipleship and faithfulness.

The important thing is to truly make the offering—not just once, but continually.

Elder Christofferson urges us to find the unworthy thing that should be eliminated, or the worthy thing that is lacking. Each of us must find, with His help, the personal gift to offer, and then make the change in our life that will constitute the offering our our gift to Him!
(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
January 24, 2015

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