Sacrifice Brings Unexpected Blessings

Sacrifice Brings Unexpected Blessings

Sometime before the dedication of Aba Nigeria temple, when the temple was under construction, the president of Aba Nigeria Stake organized a meeting to be held the first Sunday evening of every month for all endowed members residing in the stake. The objective of this meeting was to enable these endowed members to share and remember their temple experiences while they were awaiting the completion of the temple in Nigeria.   

While the meeting very successful initially, attendance began to dwindle and soon many stopped coming.  Only a few endowed members who wanted to sustain the leaders still came. 

At the time I was serving as a Bishop, and I was also attending a polytechnic school on regular basis to obtain my Higher National Diploma.

There was one Fast Sunday, when this meeting was to be held, I was scheduled to take the final exam for one of my most difficult courses the next morning. After sacrament meeting we had to travel to the stake center for a devotional which took almost the whole afternoon. Concerned about the exam I was going to have the next morning, I approached the stake president and requested to be excused from the endowed members’ meeting to be held in about two hours. I told him I needed to go home and prepare for the important examination I was to take the next morning.

My stake president, understanding the implication of my absence from the meeting to others, made a promise to me that if I stayed for this meeting I was going to make my best score in this course. With much hesitation, I agreed to stay even though I knew the sacrifice I was being asked to make.

At the conclusion of the meeting I went home so tired that I fell right asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and read as much I could but by the next morning I did not consider myself fully ready for the exam. I did my best and felt very sure I was not going to fail the course but I was not certain how well I would do.  To my great surprise, when the result came out I had scored an A.  This experience strengthened my resolve to always sustain and support my leaders no matter the level of sacrifice requested of me.

President Joseph F. Smith said, “It is a serious wrong in the presence of the Almighty for one not to sustain the authorities of the church and then to go away and oppose them and trample underfoot the counsels that they give, and he will be judged of the Lord for it. It is an important duty resting upon the saints who vote to sustain the authorities of the church to do so not only by the lifting of hand, the mere form, but in deed and truth.”[1]

In John 15:16, The Lord said to His Apostle, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give of you.” “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.” Matthew 10:24

In our day, the same teaching was again given to the saints through the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland Ohio.  In Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34 we read, “Wherefore, be not weary in well – doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.”

I do know that as we serve in obedience to the counsels of our leaders that the blessing of the Lord will be upon us. In Jesus name, amen.