Ever since the April General Conference there has been an increasing emphases on keeping the Sabbath day holy. This quote has been on my mind constantly as I evaluate how to more fully worship the Savior on the day set apart for Him:
“Perfect worship is emulation. We honor those whom we imitate. The most perfect way of worship is to be holy as Jehovah is holy. It is to be pure as Christ is pure. It is to do the things that enable us to become like the Father. The course is one of obedience”
(Bruse R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, 568, emphasis added)
As that first statement of the quote sinks into my mind I recognize that if perfect worship is emulation then I need to spend my Sundays doing my very best to be like, and being obedient to Him.
We are supposed to be like Christ every day, how can we increase that emulation on Sundays? Let’s add another layer.
“Jesus has been described as a philosopher, an economist, a social reformer, and many other things. But more than these, the Savior was a teacher. If you were to ask, ‘What did Jesus have as an occupation?’ There is only one answer: He was a teacher. It is He who should be our ideal. It is He who is the master teacher.”
(President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Mine Errand from the Lord (2008), 336.)
Jesus was a teacher, that’s what He spent his mortal life doing. Sometimes we think of callings that take us away from our own classes and into other priesthood or auxiliary meetings as distractions from our ability to be spiritually fed on Sundays. As I let the truth of these two quotes combined sink into my heart I can see that when we accept callings to teach on Sundays, we are being given the opportunity to participate in a more pure form of worship. We are being given the opportunity to more fully emulate the Savior on the day we should spend more perfectly following Him. I think we can safely say that if we do not learn or are unwilling to learn to teach in Christlike ways we will not succeed in becoming like Christ.
I fully recognize that it is sometimes exhausting and can begin to feel overwhelming when we are constantly asked to give of ourselves week after week as we teach. I think the key in being able to rejuvenate ourselves is in Doctrine and Covenants 11:21:
Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.
A lot has already been said about how important it is to have a testimony of what you teach, so I won’t address that here, although I have a firm testimony of the principle. What I want to bring out is that we must first obtain the word, not only because we need the knowledge, but because it is the only way to gain and maintain the spiritual stamina required to constantly teach and give of yourself. As teachers, we are required to be proactive in our spiritual rejuvenation. We must learn to increase our personal study, which is different then personally studying and planning your lesson, so that the quality of our study is such that we are able to receive the sustaining power of the Holy Ghost and to learn how to further sanctify ourselves through cleansing power of the atonement. That is what will give us the “power of God unto the convincing of men” without burning ourselves out.
As I recognize the role that teaching has in my development to become like Him it helps me to identify why and how I should teach. It increases my willingness to accept callings that require me to teach. Although I am still new at teaching, (Seminary is my first official teaching calling, ever!) and my teaching efforts are so far from perfect that it’s almost comical, I love that striving become a better teacher and striving to become like Christ are not separate or parallel roads, but that they magnify and excel each other and bring abundant blessings in the process.
NOTE: I recognize that there are also a lot of ways to unofficially be a teacher on Sundays to our families and as an active participant in class. Although I didn’t specifically address them in this post the same principles, doctrines and promises apply!