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Lessons Learned from my Mormon Friends September 29, 2006

Posted by Joe in Random Musings.

Lar’s away and I need to keep the ball rolling. Of course, I think he would admit that I have been doing so as of late anyway, but that is besides the point. Anyhow…

I spent most of my morning this morning talking to two young Mormon men. It was an interesting conversation to say the least. We spent probably 1 1/2 to 2 hours sharing. I trust it was a work of God’s providence (as all things are of course!) that I was upstairs at the time of their arrival. I just happened to be coming up out of my ‘seeking God room’ (as I like to call it even though it is used for everything–come to think of it, maybe I should just call it my primary home). Where was I? O yea, I was coming up out of my primary home to get my cell phone of all items and I heard a knock on the door. Erin and the kids were out on a cultural activity of sorts, so I invited them right in, gave them some water to drink and started to roll.

The first thing that I found refreshing is that you can get past the formalities pretty quickly with these guys. I mean think about it, they are there to talk religion. That’s what I do to, so let’s go for it! And that’s what we did. We talked about everything, with particular emphasis on the gospel of grace. Of course, as good Mormon missionaries do, they agreed with pretty much everything I said, even though they disagreed. And I mean that in a very nice way, just as they nicely agreed amist their disagreement (?). I think you get what I am saying.

In all seriousness though, they were some really cool guys and were as genuine as could be, humble, but firm in their convictions even though I said some very tough things (which maybe I will mention at a later date–or maybe not). I enjoyed it a great deal and wanted to mention two things that struck me after they left.

1) O for more Christians who lived with such reckless abandon for the cause of Christ! Well, I suppose this isn’t an observation, but then again, I didn’t say that I was going to give two observations. I just said two ‘things’ and this definitely consitutes two things. Anyhow, here we have two young men who have literally set aside their entire lives for two whole years to serve on mission for the cause of Mormonism. Their exact doctrinal stands (which can be very difficult to pin down without the help of some reference book on world religions–if you are looking for one, Josh McDowell’s Handbook of Today’s Religions is a good one to get by the way). Where was I again? O yea, their exact doctrinal stands we won’t go into, but their commitment deserves some attention!

They speak to their families two times a year. They email once a week and are able to write as many letters as they want. Those are the ‘rules’ but they are not a burden. These young men have embraced them with joy for their cause. They live to serve full-time for the next two years. And they find a great deal of joy in it. They told me themselves time and again, that what they receive is far more than what they give. Yes, we should be put to shame.

2) Random acts of service (or at least the willingness to do random acts of service) can serve as a powerful witness to the gospel. Here’s what these two young men told me. They said (with complete peace by the way), “Even though many people will treat us disrespectfully, we aren’t angry with them. We just ask them if there is anything we can do for them, any way we can serve them–even cutting their grass? Most just tell us to get out of here, but that’s ok. We really do want to serve in any way we can.”

This might not be a big thing, but it got me thinking. What if I, as a member of my community, walked over to my neighbors at random and asked, “What can I do for you? How can I serve you?” What would be the response? I doubt they would kick me out like they did my Mormom missionary friends. I mean, they know me. I’m no threat. They might pretend that they didn’t have anything for me to help them with, but what if I persisted? What if I kept asking? I can’t help but think that some walls would fall down.

Now, some of you might be saying, “Joe, I rode by your house the other day and your grass was a foot long, how are you going to serve others?” Well, actually my grass was about six inches long, and actually, that was me saying that last quote–nobody else from blog nation. Here’s my thought on that question, my question. First, I need to keep up with my own business. True enough, I slack on my own grass (although Abigail’s failure to take afternoon naps doesn’t help my cause but that’s another matter). Second, I need to make time to serve my neighbors. I need to make time to cut their grass. I need to stop making excuses that my mower doesn’t cut straight (which it doesn’t) and start finding ways to serve (and maybe get a new mower–a zero turn one would be nice!). I need to engage in conversation with my neighbors and stop ducking into my ‘primary home’ every chance I get. I need to ask for ways in which I can serve the good of those who surround me, no doubt with a view to showing them the love and beauty of Jesus Christ.

I’m a self-centered dude. That’s what it comes down to, and the Lord used a couple of misguided, but very passionate and humble young men to show me that this morning. What a joy! What a humbling joy! Lord, grant me the grace to engage my neighborhood in service for your name’s sake.

O yea, and one more thing: is it a coincidence that I read and memorized these words from Jesus this morning?

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles Lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).

Last place is sweet for those who will seek it. O Lord, grant me grace for the sake of Your name!
Seeking the joy of last place with you,



1. scochran1 - September 30, 2006

Amen. What a great reminder to all of us that our service to others will often times speak louder than words. I just read a quote that said almost the exact same thing, here it is: “If you really want to understand a man, don’t just listen to what he says, but watch what he does.”

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