Why religion? How about all this God stuff? If he exists, why would a god be concerned with us? What’s in it for me?
Women from around the world share thoughtful answers. I especially like what the mother from Haiti has to say: “The Holy Temple”
In Oklahoma, a close friend of mine said Yes to being my assistant as I headed our local priesthood quorum of adults. In the preceding years, Scot had not been attending a church of any kind, and he hadn’t been sure what he thought about God. He worked as a laborer, he was quiet and unassuming, humble and meek, and he certainly didn’t seek out any chance for God to be concerned with him. He was in constant pain, caused by pinched nerves in his lower spine, yet always bore a sincere cheerfulness that made everyone smile. I knew him to be a hard worker and a good man, saw his skills as a husband and as a father, and wanted him to work by my side as we went about the work of watchcare of others. As we made personal visits to the brothers in our quorum, helping them to bless their families, together we learned a lot about priesthood leadership, and I loved working with Scot. It was wonderful to see him grow over time in his confidence in approaching others, in the way he made spiritual and leadership decisions, and in his understanding of how God was truly concerned with him. Scot was a perfect example of never asking, “What’s in it for me?”
Here’s what my niece has to say about her experience at a prestigious university in the mid-West. She has learned not only the importance of religion but also the importance of not asking what’s in it for her:
Yesterday, I was talking with a friend who was surprised and a little baffled at all the time I spend “socially” with Church. True, there are lots of activities and events that I would consider social, but I don’t consider Church (or rather, Christ) to be my social life—It’s my whole life, and everything else is an appendage to it. Christ is why I go to school, Christ is why I go to work, Christ is why I do the things I do (or don’t do some of the things others do). It changes my perspective, and I then see more than earthly potential and temporary influences of even the smallest things. It’s not always easy; I’m far from perfect, but I know it’s true.
Here’s what President Uchtdorf teaches us, including what he calls the central question for the selfish person, “What’s in it for me?”:
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an effort of once a week or once a day. It’s an effort for once and for all. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Are You Sleeping Through the Restoration?”, Apr 2014 LDS General Conference.)
And from President Oscarson on feeling these things down deep:
We often refer to the scripture that “where much is given, much is required.” I believe that a close corollary to this is that “where much is required, much more will be given.” In other words, if we expect more of our youth, they will step up to the challenge, and I do believe that we need to require more of them. We need to step up our teaching so that our youth do more on their own to understand the doctrines of Christ and the reality of the Restoration, and we need to find a way to motivate them to write these things on the “tablets of their hearts.” (Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, Annual Seminaries and Institutes training broadcast on establishing greater expectations of our youth.)
To me, religion is of vital importance. I have taught my adult children to move beyond questions like, “What’s in it for me?” I have learned that I am happiest when I focus not on serving myself but rather on serving others.
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“Glorious”, with lyrics by David Archuleta (well worth 2:53 of your time)
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WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:
- Photo, “2010 Earthquake in Haiti”—commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2010_Haiti_earthquake_damage3.jpg
- Photo, “Haiti Earthquake, Disaster Relief”—www. lds.org/manual/new-testament-student-manual/introduction-to-matthew/chapter-8?lang=eng
- Photo, “Watchcare Isn’t Complicated: Three Women And Watchcare Of Others”—www. ganellyn.com/tag/watch-care/
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