Monday, January 13, 2014

88.5- Keynote of Hastening the work

 Elder Hodgson and his companion write "keynotes" that are sent out to the missionary leadership. They are then shared and discussed and studied in small groups.

“Hearken, O ye house of Israel, and hear the words of . . .  a prophet of the Lord. For behold, thus saith the Lord, I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive-tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard.” (Jacob 5:2-3)
                The prophet Zenos’ allegory of the olive tree begins with those words, and the words which follow teach us of the scattering and gathering of the house of Israel. That very same gathering we at this very moment are involved in.
                For centuries, the Lord has nurtured and cared for the house of Israel. Just think of all He has done for us. He has covenanted with us, He has blessed us, He has sent His Son to atone for us. Now in these last days, He has restored  “the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.” (Intro to the Book of Mormon) Throughout this preparation process, the Prophet of the Lord has prayed “unto the Lord of the vineyard, [saying]: Spare it a little longer.” (Jacob 5:50) The Lord has answered this prayer, and spared the vineyard, however, He has left us this promise: “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:73)
                “The Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth . . . gave commandments to [us], that [we] should proclaim these things unto the world:” But doing this alone is no longer enough. In Jeremiah, we read: “Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” (Jeremiah 16:16) Notice the differentiation between the fishers, and then the hunters being sent. The fishers fish, sitting comfortably upon the bank of the stream, waiting patiently for a hungry fish to approach the hook and take a bite. Then, when the Lord knew the time was ready, He called for hunters who would hunt, exerting their all, traversing rough and difficult terrain so they could be sure to find every last creature, even in the holes of the rocks.
                Elders and Sisters, the time is past to be fishers. We need to be hunters for the Lord! He is no longer sparing the vineyard. In our day, He has declared: “Let us go and labor with our might this last time, for behold the end draweth nigh, and this is for the last time that I shall prune my vineyard.” (Jacob 5:62) “And the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants.” (Jacob 5:70) At which point - only this last October - those words came from the mouthpiece of the Lord what would forever change many of our lives: “I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men . . . will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18 . . . I am [also] pleased to announce that able, worthy women . . . may be recommended . . . beginning at age 19.” (Thomas S. Monson, Welcome to Conference. October 2012)
                I do not believe that the import of these events has fully set upon all of us - myself included. But this I do know, that the prophet Jacob, commenting on the words of Zenos, clarified that “the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.” (Jacob 6:2) For centuries, the hastening of the work has been prophesied. Time and again, the prophets and apostles have advocated and emphasized the importance of missionary work, but when have they ever declared in the name of the Lord that that hastening is occurring? They have declared it now.
  Elders and Sisters, this is it! This is our time to share the gospel with the world, and after that, “the end soon cometh.” (Jacob 6:2) Let us be hunters! Let us proceed with the sense of urgency that this historic and sacred time requires. We have been called and foreordained to assist the Lord as He prunes his vineyard for the LAST TIME, but we will never do it alone. For “it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them.” (Jacob 5:72)
                I promise that as we labor with our might, we will see miracles happen. In the allegory of the olive tree, we see the whole of that miracle as the house of Israel - scattered, wild, and corrupt - is brought back together into one tree that brings forth sweet and natural fruit. The prophets, ancient and modern, have testified of this hastening and of the victory of the Lord as He presides over it. Let us move forward to victory. Let us labor with our might in the vineyard of the Lord.
Let us be Hunters.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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