My Come Follow Me lesson for this week took me to 2 Corinthians 8-13 in a lesson titled “God Loveth a Cheerful Giver.” The lesson was preceded by this counsel: “Recording spiritual impressions will help you remember what you learn during scripture study. You might write in a study journal, make notes in the margins of your scriptures, add notes in your Gospel Library app, or make an audio recording of your thoughts.” The lesson was introduced with this paragraph:
What would you do if you heard that congregation of Saints in another area was struggling in poverty? This was the situation that Paul described to the Corinthian Saints in 2 Corinthians 8-9. He hoped to persuade the Corinthian Saints to donate some of their abundance to Saints in need. But beyond a request for donations, Paul’s words also contain profound truths about giving: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). In our day, there are still Saints throughout the world who are in need of help. Sometimes the most we can do for them is to fast and donate fast offerings. In other cases, our giving can be more direct and personal. Whatever forms our sacrifices take, it’s worth examining our motivations for giving. Are our sacrifices expressions of love? After all, it’s love that makes a giver cheerful.
The principle for this post is found in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 “We should focus on ‘the simplicity that is in Christ.’” The verses are as follow:
Would to God ye could bear with me a little in folly: and indeed bear with me.
We are most interested in verse 3 where Paul speaks of “the simplicity that is in Christ.” President Matthew Cowley was quoted as saying many times, “The gospel of Jesus Christ is simply beautiful and beautifully simple.” Yet, many members of the Church of Jesus Christ try to make the gospel more complicated than it is. They are overwhelmed with the demands of their lives as well as being Latter-day Saints. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave the following counsel to all who are overwhelmed with living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters, living the gospel doesn’t need to be complicated.
It is really straightforward. It could be described like this:
· Hearing the word of God with earnest intent leads us to believe in God and to trust His promises.
· The more we trust God, the more our hearts are filled with love for Him and for each other.
· Because of our love for God, we desire to follow Him and bring our actions in alignment with His word.
· Because we love God, we want to serve Him; we want to bless the lives of others and help the poor and the needy.
· The more we walk in this path of discipleship, the more we desire to learn the word of God.
And so it goes, each step leading to the next and filling us with ever-increasing faith, hope, and charity.
It is beautifully simple, and it works beautifully.
Brothers and sisters, if you ever think that the gospel isn’t working so well for you, I invite you to step back, look at your life from a higher plane, and simplify your approach to discipleship. Focus on the basic doctrines, principles, and applications of the gospel. I promise that God will guide and bless you on your path to a fulfilling life, and the gospel will definitely work better for you (“It Works Wonderfully!,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 22).