Last Sunday was our Stake Conference. We weren’t able to attend the Saturday meetings because of our assignment, but looked forward to the Sunday session. Elder Marcus B. Nash was the presiding general authority. We really love Elder and Sr. Nash and have come to know them personally because we share the same home ward. His teaching and speaking is always outstanding but this time he gave a never-to-be-forgotten general conference kind of talk.
His gospel text was Acts 3:2-9. He established a pattern from those verses that made missionary work in my life not only possible but feasible. When asked for an alms by the lame beggar, Peter replied “look on us”, or symbolically, look to the power of Jesus Christ. Then continued “such as I have give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk. Then he took him by the right hand and lifted him up. And he entered the temple walking and leaping and praising God.”
- I can live so the Lord can work through me
- I can give what I have, my understanding of the gospel.
- I can reach out my hand
- I can lift
Elder Nash related a personal experience when he was an area seventy. In visiting a stake conference he asked the president to take him to meet with someone who was inactive and difficult to deal with. They went by appointment to the home of a former bishop who had been out of the church for 20 years. He wanted no contact with the church. When they arrived he was not home. His wife opened the door, was unresponsive to their greetings, and explained that her husband was on the way from the home of their adult child who lived down the street. They were not invited in but waited on the steps. When Elder Nash saw him coming, he was filled with love for this brother and ran to him, throwing his arms around him. He told him that God loved him and that he loved him, that he was needed in the church and that he needed the church.
The brother started to weep on Elder Nashes shoulder and responded, “I have waited for years to hear those words. What do you want me to do?” “I want you to come to stake conference tomorrow morning.” He replied “I will come and bring some of my married children”. He did.
In the evaluation meeting following the stake conference, the presidency and the high council were all amazed at what had happened. One of the councilmen spoke. “Not to be demeaning, but I do not think that Elder Nash is so different from the rest of us. We could have had the same result if we had gone to this man with the love of God for him in our hearts and a sincere desire of our own to help him. It was not the power of Elder Nash but the power of Jesus Christ working through him that brought this man back.” Acts 3:12, 16 This brother is now again in full fellowship in the church.
Unfortunately, we are not always strong like Peter and John in this example. In fact sometimes we are spiritually lame or emotionally paralyzed. But we can do as the man who could not walk. We can act in faith and look on those who are strong in their testimony of Jesus Christ. God reaches out to us through them in talks and written articles. If we will let them, they will lift us up and help us until we can stand on our own to lift others. And in being lifted up and lifting others, we will all enter the temple together walking, leaping, and praising God.