I head up to Stake Girls Camp today. I will be gone for 5 days. Let’s hope my master schedule holds up and that the boys don’t die from sodium nitrate overload while I am gone. I have a feeling a lot of hot dogs, lunch meat and bacon are on the menu while mom and Elle are away. (Elle is not going to Girls Camp; she is off to another summer camp.)
As a Stake YW Presidency, we were reading one meeting from the handbook, and we found our purpose for camp straight off of page 76 (pg. 76, 10.1.1 #4): to help the girls “receive, recognize and rely on the promptings of the Holy Ghost.” The Spirit let us know this is what the girls in our Stake needed to understand. We will focus on one of these words (receive – recognize – rely) each day.
I will tell you about our awesome theme later that facilitates our purpose.
But for now, I was assigned to give a short devotional on Tuesday morning about “RECEIVE the Holy Ghost”. I thought, “What better way to organize my ideas than to write them in a post for Mormon Monday?” So here are my thoughts for all of you that won’t be at camp with me:
The Parable of the Pink iPod
A few years back my husband gave me a pink iPod for Mother’s Day. He and the kids were so excited to give it to me. They had heard me mention that I really wanted something to play music on and they took note. My husband and kids all got on the computer together and found the perfect iPod. My little daughter picked the pink color.
When Mother’s Day came, I opened my gift and I was completely surprised. I was excited because I really wanted more music in my home.
But I am not really smart enough to figure these gadgets out and I am a little bit lazy.
Weeks passed, months passed, even years passed and there sat the pink iPod.
I never used it.
I didn’t read its manual.
I didn’t experiment or tinker around with it or try to figure the thing out.
I didn’t ask my husband to teach me how to download songs.
I am not even sure I ever took the iPod out of its plastic case that it was boxed in.
The iPod sat in my drawer unused. Which meant I didn’t get to enjoy all the music the iPod could have given me.
A year or two later, my husband found the unused pink iPod. He came to me and pulled the iPod out of the unopened plastic box. He handed it to me and asked me to look on the back. I peeled off the pink rubber protection and that is when I saw that he and the kids had engraven a little message for me on the back of the iPod. I had no idea the message was even there. Since I had never used it, I had never read the engraving.
I felt terrible. My husband and children had given me this awesome gift and I didn’t use it. I didn’t get the benefit of the music or games or info that could have been on there. I didn’t read the message for me on the back. The iPod could’t make my life better because I didn’t know how to use it.
I had been given the gift of the pink iPod but I had never received the gift.
Do you see the subtle distinction between being given a gift and actually receiving it?
Now let me tell you how my pink iPod story is like the Holy Ghost.
We have all been given the gift of the Holy Ghost. After we were baptized, we were confirmed. And someone, that held the Priesthood, laid his hands on our head and said, “Receive the Holy Ghost.”
I used to think that those words meant we got the Holy Ghost right then – at that moment – and that was it.
But Elder Bednar teaches us that “These four words – “Receive the Holy Ghost” – are a not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction – an authoratitve admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon.”
That is fancy for “the Holy Ghost doesn’t just come to you automatically, you gotta do the work to receive the Holy Ghost”.
The Holy Ghost is just like my iPod. If we want Him with us, we have to take the time to figure Him out. We have to study and read the manual. We have to experiment and tinker around and succeed and fail. We have to ask for help and ask questions and we need to act and try even if we are not sure. We have to desire to learn how the Holy Ghost works and how He communicates. We have to figure out how He talks to us.
In Doctrine and Covenants 88:33 it reads, “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.”
It does us no good to be given a gift if we don’t receive it.
So let’s talk for a minute about how we can be sure to RECEIVE the Holy Ghost. Elder Bednar gives us 2 steps:
1. Sincerely Desire. Receiving the Holy Ghost starts with our sincere and constant desire for His companionship in our lives. Pray for Him to be with you. Ask Him to accompany you wherever you go. Invite Him along.
2. Faithfully Obey. Have you ever thought about why God asks us read the scriptures, say our prayers, pay our tithing, go to church, etc? He doesn’t ask us to do all these Holy Habits just to see if we are going to obey or just to keep us busy or just to help us learn. He asks us to keep the commandments because He wants to bless us with the Spirit. We obey so we are prepared to RECEIVE the Holy Ghost.
I testify to you that we want to RECEIVE the gift of the Holy Ghost. Save the Atonement, no gift is greater. We want to know how He works, how He talks, how He operates in our lives. We want him as our constant companion, as our best friend. We want to know the message he has for us. The Holy Ghost brings peace, comfort, knowledge and confidence into our lives if we truly RECEIVE Him.
I know we have all been given the gift of the Holy Ghost, but I would like to invite all of us to truly RECEIVE this gift.
Here is the handout I am passing out to the girls as a reminder of my devotional:
Thanks to my awesome brother, Kyle, for making this handout for me. He spent hours of his Saturday in Costco trying to get the pink just right. I would blame me, but he has the same genes and we like things just right.
I plan to tell this story rather than read it, but it always helps to map out my thoughts before hand. I hope I’ve got this.