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How I Prepare for the Second Coming of Christ, Sister Garin B., May 28th, 2023

Updated: Feb 25

There was a pit in my stomach when I read Brother Porter’s text about my assigned topic of the Second Coming. His question of “How can I, Garin Brooks, personally be ready for the Savior’s Second Coming?” was uniquely all too specific and way too broad at the same time. I was definitely not given this topic because I knew or know the answer, or because I’m a scriptorian. I’m a very imperfect disciple. In the last few years, my understanding of the gospel has grown in leaps and bounds but I still feel behind the curve most of the time. I can see the direct link between this growth and the Come Follow Me curriculum. Studying the scriptures regularly with guided questions, making connections in the Temple has been wonderful.

Jesus warned his disciples about the Second Coming, “Take heed that no man deceive you….And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived.” (JST Matt 1: 5, 37)

Elder David McConkie shared, “The Lord said to Hyrum Smith, Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word. This admonition applies to each of us. The Lord has commanded us to search the scriptures, to feast upon them and to treasure them up. As we earnestly search and ponder the word of the Lord, we will have His Spirit with us. We will become acquainted with His voice. Brothers and sisters, it is contrary to the economy of heaven for the Lord to repeat to each of us individually what He has already revealed to us collectively. The scriptures contain the words of Christ. They are the voice of the Lord. Studying the scriptures trains us to hear the Lord’s voice.”

Going back to the question “How can I personally be ready for the Savior’s Second Coming?” The answer to this, I realized, does not have so much to do with the details and signs of the Second Coming. I can’t prepare myself simply by ticking off boxes on a checklist. My preparation will depend on my relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ.

The creation of the Children and Youth Program and also the changes to the For Strength of Youth Guide, were all designed with our individual relationships with Christ in mind. These programs help teach the pattern of becoming like our Savior. Am I seeking to know His will? Am I following Him on my unique path? How does He want me to change? I can tell you our Beachside Ward children and youth are building that relationship with Christ. This next generation of disciples is being prepared to further the Lord’s work in an even more accelerated way. It is amazing. It is such a privilege to witness the growth of their testimonies, the depth of their understanding.

At a Primary Activity a few weeks ago, I was inspired to have the kids share ideas of how we can grow and get stronger in each of these four categories focused on in the Children and Youth Program. In the physical category there were the expected answers of push-ups, running, eating healthy and getting enough sleep. For the intellectual category, again, there were the expected answers of read and go to school. Then I was really blown away. In the social category, there were suggestions of have good manners, be nice and serve others. And in the spiritual category there were answers of get baptized, get to know Jesus Christ, listen to the Holy Ghost, repent. These kids get it. These kids truly know our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let’s use the Parable of the Talents to learn a little more about our relationship with Christ and the Second Coming:

14 ¶ For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

We learn about the generosity of the Lord here. The servant’s reward of becoming a ruler over many things far exceeds his accomplishment of doubling his talents.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Interestingly, the lord says the same thing to this second servant even though he only has four talents which is still less than what the first servant started with. Elder Clark Gilbert said, “Our future will be determined far less by our starting point and much more by our slope. Jesus Chrsit sees divine potential no matter where we start….Christ considers what we do with what we are given. While the world focuses on our intercept, God focuses on our slope.”

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard (or strict) man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

I have such empathy for this servant who was afraid. It is easy to compare and to feel less than. It’s easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis. I love that term from this week’s Follow Him podcast - we weigh the pros and cons, we make all the checklists but become overwhelmed so we do nothing.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Sam asked during scripture study this week what the lord would have said if this servant had invested his one talent but lost it all. I really appreciated the time to consider. I think the Lord would have been merciful and told this servant, as he did the other two, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…” With no talents to return, this third servant would have at least tried. Our effort does not go unnoticed by Christ.

In the failures of this third servant, I learn so much. While we wait for the Second Coming, we need to be anxiously engaged in work. There are many different tasks the Lord may require of us, and He is the only one who can direct each of us through the Holy Ghost. But I’d like to suggest that loving each other and ministering is a high priority to the Lord.

What are talents? From the Guide to the Scriptures we learn that a talent is “an ancient measure of weight or a sum of money that was of great worth. It also serves as a symbol of something of great value.” But it was suggested in the “Don’t Miss This” podcast that the Lord’s business is not money, it’s people. There is nothing more valuable to Christ than God’s children. We are given stewardship over others and while we “wait” for the Second Coming, we are to love one another.

In the parable of the 10 virgins, Joseph Smith retranslated “I know you not” to “ye know me not.” That phrase really stood out to me. Those virgins who did not know the Lord were shut out from the marriage. So how do we get to know the Lord? The Apostle John counseled:

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.

More recently, Elder Bednar taught “We come to know the Lord as we are filled with His love.”

Ministering doesn’t always pan out the way you expect because the other person has their own agency. Sometimes a friend’s name will pop into my head at a seemingly random time. I used to be very hesitant to reach out because I didn’t want to bother them but as I’ve leaned into these promptings, I’ve seen that those aren’t random times. Often it is just nice to catch up, but plenty of times I find that I can provide an answer to one of their prayers. I get to be the Lord’s hands for a short moment. I get to share God’s love.

Life has been extra challenging the last few years. As I’ve focused on my own relationship with Christ, on living within my covenants, I have found peace. I have found strength. Remember what I said in the beginning? I am an imperfect disciple. But learning is meant to be messy, in those moments of failure is where we find growth. Let’s lean into the gospel together. Let’s find strength in being gathered together as a covenant people. Let’s share the gospel by loving each and every child of God. I don’t know everything, but I do know that my Savior Jesus Christ loves me as He loves each of you.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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