Rescuing the Lost

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There is little more beautiful than those who have wandered returning home and changing their ways. In what is one of the most powerful teachings ever given, Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son.

Related to this is the parable of the lost sheep. Both the prodigal son and parable of the lost sheep demonstrate God’s great love for us. He yearns for us to return home to live with Him again.

Whether we are prodigal sons or daughters (we all are in our own ways), lost sheep, or are those seeking the lost, the call is to follow the Savior home. God loves us and rejoices when we repent and help others repent. We must take part in hastening the work of salvation and rescuing those who are lost, particularly if we are the ones who are lost.

Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are the sheep of his fold;
Dear is the love that he gives them,
Dearer than silver or gold.
Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are his “other” lost sheep;
Over the mountains he follows,
Over the waters so deep.

Out in the desert they wander,
Hungry and helpless and cold;
Off to the rescue he hastens,
Bringing them back to the fold.

Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are the lambs of his fold;
Some from the pastures are straying,
Hungry and helpless and cold.
See, the Good Shepherd is seeking,
Seeking the lambs that are lost,
Bringing them in with rejoicing,
Saved at such infinite cost.

Out in the desert they wander,
Hungry and helpless and cold;
Off to the rescue he hastens,
Bringing them back to the fold.

Dear to the heart of the Shepherd,
Dear are the “ninety and nine”;
Dear are the sheep that have wandered
Out in the desert to pine.
Hark! he is earnestly calling,
Tenderly pleading today:
“Will you not seek for my lost ones,
Off from my shelter astray?”

Out in the desert they wander,
Hungry and helpless and cold;
Off to the rescue he hastens,
Bringing them back to the fold.

Green are the pastures inviting;
Sweet are the waters and still.
Lord, we will answer thee gladly,
“Yes, blessed Master, we will!
Make us thy true under-shepherds;
Give us a love that is deep.
Send us out into the desert,
Seeking thy wandering sheep.”

Out in the desert they wander,
Hungry and helpless and cold;
Off to the rescue we’ll hasten,
Bringing them back to the fold.

Mary B. Wingate, Dear to the heart of the Shepherd

Sin, Sorrow, and Suffering – Part 2

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“It must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter” (2 Ne. 2:15). If Adam and Eve had not partaken of the fruit of the tree of knowledge “they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin” (2 Ne. 2:23).

The Savior taught about suffering. When Pilate killed some Galilaeans, some wondered if they deserved their fate. The Savior said, “Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay” (Luke 12:2-3). He continued by telling the listeners, “But, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 12:3). Those who suffer did not necessarily sin but those who sin and don’t repent, suffer. What is unfortunate is when people suffer as a result of their own sins because that suffering is preventable. We all sin but none of us have to sin.

We don’t seek suffering but we don’t shy away from it when we understand the meaning and purpose of suffering. Not all suffering is positive though. Much suffering in this world results from sin – our own or others’. When we suffer due to the sins of others we still have a choice as to how we will bear the suffering and what we will learn from it. It’s unfortunate when people suffer as a result of the sins of others. It’s a reality of life but unfortunate. Many times suffering can lead to repentance: “For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them in their land; therefore they began to disbelieve the traditions of their fathers, and to believe in the Lord, and that he gave great power unto the Nephites; and thus there were many of them converted in the wilderness” (Alma 25:6).

There is a story told of a young man who wanted to see the world and experience life. He was tired of what he thought was a boring and simple life. He went to his father for some money – his portion of the inheritance he was to receive. His older brother watched as the younger took the money and left. This young man spent all of his money pursuing pleasure. Money and pleasure were his gods – he wasted his strength worshiping them. When this man’s money was spent he looked around for more. Finding none, he thought he might get a job; however, he had few employable skills. He had spent all of his money “living it up” and no longer had any for the basics of life. He was miserable and suffering. He felt ashamed of what he had done. He was too ashamed to return home to face his father and elder brother. The man was so destitute he begged for food, even scraps that unclean animals rejected. Finding no solace, no sustenance, he finally stopped being prideful; he accepted responsibility for his actions and started the journey home in humility. When approaching his home, he came with the attitude that maybe his father would accept him back as a servant, for he felt unworthy to be called son. When the prodigal approached, his father saw him from afar and ran to him. The father embraced him and wept upon his shoulder. As the son contritely begged to be received as a servant, his father called for his best robe. He called to have a feast prepared – a celebration of his son’s homecoming and repentance. The father expressed great joy over his son’s return.

One main moral of this story is that with sin and selfishness comes sorrow and suffering. The prodigal son was not happy in his pursuit of pleasure. He experienced momentary happiness but quickly began to suffer for his sins. As he expressed contrition and penitence, the prodigal son found joy in his return home; he found forgiveness and love.