Good morning brothers and sisters. I realize that I'm probably a little bit out of my element. Im not typically up here for talking. When I am teaching music to youth, to the primary, to students, I make sure that they know that specifically when they're performing in church, that they are not there to sound good. That is not their job. They are there to invite the spirit. I am a very big believer in this principle. And so, as I was preparing this talk and stressing out, my lovely husband turned to me. He said, "what's your job?" I found myself getting angry. To those who I've ever told that to while you were singing, I sincerely apologize. I'll try be more sensitive in the future, Um, but I still do believe in that principle.
As Jade so lovingly introduced charity, I wanted to bring up a lesson I heard and some of you may have heard this. I heard this on the Don't Miss This. He mentioned the word repent or repentance and how it had been hijacked. How it no longer was meant to be this beautiful sign of the atonement and that we could return to him. This loving gift really to us was more, you know. Something that was written on cardboard and held up, you know a street sign, the end is near kind of work. And how it had been turned into a repentance is only for sinners. That you're horrible and you should repent and to not be a horrible person. But as I was researching charity, I started out, didn't really know where to look. So, I just looked in the Bible dictionary and it said their definition of charity is: the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love. Not merely affection. The pure love of Christ. It is never used to denote alms or needs of benevolence. Although, it may be. And then after, you know, realizing that it was never meant to just be charity, with just giving money to someone or helping someone out. But that it was a more a state of being. I decided to go look it up in the Oxford Dictionary. To see what their definition of charity was or definitions. Their definitions were: an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need. The voluntary giving of help typically in the form of money to those in need. All good things, but I believe that one of Satan's most powerful tools is taking something great and rolling it through. Just bringing it down a little bit. When you pay attention to these two definitions, the definition in the Bible speaks of love and of Christ. And the definition of the dictionary requires no feeling. It is only an act. And so there was part of me that felt like maybe this word had kind of been hijacked, to change it into something, still good, but not great as the Lord meant it to be. In first Corinthians chapter 13, it says, "If I speak with the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have charity, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have charity I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, And give my body to be burned and have not charity, It profited me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind. Charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. And then in verse 13, it says, "And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. So, charity being something more than a state of being, an attribute, rather than an act or an organization. And I love the idea of that. I love that charity is something you are not something you give. It is something you give but not just something you give.
I wanted to share a quick story about, well, let me practice it. I thought, and I thought, and I thought, when I was given this subject of an experience. Of just an experience of where charity had impacted my life. But, you know of course, I'm looking for a powerful strong, face my talk around this kind of experience. And I couldn't really think of any. And I realized it's because every act of charity to me that stood out in my mind, that stuck with me, was not a big powerful bring me to my knees kind of moment. It was just a quick little tender mercy from the Lord. His work through someone else's hands.
One day I was at Target shopping with all three kids, which always puts me in the best mood. And I was actually, I m proud to say on this trip in particular, even though I was having a hard day, I was still pretty calm. I was in line and there was this man in front of us and he turned around and just smiled at my kids. You know, they said something cute and he turned around and smiled. Then he bought his stuff and he was on his way. And then when I got up to the register, the cashier said, "that man wanted to pay for your kids' candy. He gave me some cash so that he could pay for their treat." It wasn't a big deal. I mean, it was not that much money. It was, you know, a little candy bar each, but I was so touched by that man's genuine (just hi), I want to do something nice for you attitude. He didn't know me, wasn't trying to get anything out of it. And he had no idea about the day that I had, and how frustrated I was. And how much I needed that reminder that the Lord is always there. Just kind of poking you and reminding me that he's there and he loves me, and he's there to listen. I have one last quote from Dallen H. Oaks. It says, "we are challenged to move through a process of conversion towards that status and condition called eternal life. This is achieved not just by doing what is right, but by doing it for the right reason, for the pure love of Christ. The Apostle Paul illustrated this in his famous teaching about the importance of charity. The reason charity never fails and the reason charity is greater than even the most significant acts of goodness he cited, is that charity, the pure love of Christ is not an act but a condition, or state of being. Charity is attained through a succession of acts that result in a conversion. Charity is something one becomes. Thus, as Moroni declared, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which though hast prepared in the mansions of the father.
I just wanted to bear my testimony of charity and how actually special this talk has been in planning for me. That it was a true testament to me that small and simple things, bring great things to pass that. This being the greatest of the attributes, the pure love of Christ. And that the state of being only makes you want to do big things too but just little things to help people. That small things can bring about great change. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.