Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Talk: Purpose and Priority

A talk given at Kerava Ward while touring the Helsinki Stake after my return from my mission to Sweden.

Dear friends, my brothers and sisters,

I am thankful for this opportunity to talk to you on this great Sunday. To all old acquaintances it is a joy to say: "Nice to see you again!", and to all new faces: "Nice to meet you!".

Let us begin with this: Who am I? While I tell my own thoughts, ask this question from yourselves and ponder the answer to it.

My name is Markus Lappalainen. I am 23 years old Arts Management-student. My hobbies are music and self-defense/martial-arts.

In more spiritual terms...

I am a beloved son to Heavenly Parents. I have been sealed to an eternal family with my parents and siblings. By the way of baptism, I made a covenant with my Heavenly Father to follow His commandments always, everywhere and in all situations. Then I received the gift of the Holy Ghost, a divine help and a friend for the rest of my life who would be with me according to my righteousness. As time went on I received first the Aaronic priesthood and then the Melchizedek priesthood, authority to use the power of God for the salvation of His children.

Probably one of the best things what I've brought home with me from my mission has been the perspective and priorities which I found during those two years. I firmly believe that my decision to go on a mission was a result of a divine interception.

Brothers, a promise to teach and preach the gospel is an essential part of the oath and the covenant of the priesthood. Serving a mission is therefore a priesthood duty and when done, keeping our promises to God (=keeping our covenants). Young sisters, you have a great influence on how brothers will fulfill their responsibilities and duties. Do therefore everything within righteousness so that the brothers would keep this part of their covenant with the Lord. I promise, it is the best what you can do for the benefit of your future children and families in addition to preparing yourselves.

My original plan was not to serve as a missionary. I didn't feel the same burning as many of my friends did. And I didn't want to go just because I was expected to. The Lord had something else in mind. He organized some things and I found myself sitting in the general priesthood meeting in October 2010. My friend needed me to give him a ride there - go figures. I had not intended to attend. When I heard a living prophet of God say the words: "every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission" I knew the Lord had called me to work. My heart was burning, my mind was clear and enlightened by inspiration.

In my head and in my heart was a clear thought: "If you are going to become the man you want, you must serve a mission."

My aim, purpose and priorities were clear from that moment onwards.

For two years I knew exactly what was my purpose. My purpose was to simply help people find the truth. Truth, that was restored on earth after centuries.

Truth of who we are.
Truth of where we came from and where we are headed.
Truth of why we are here.
Truth of how we find true happiness.
The one and the only truth.

I testify you will find these truths, every and each one, from this Church, The Church of Jesus Christ.

I return to the divine intervention now. Because I didn't understand myself that the direction of my life was spiritually destructive, the Lord commanded a time-out for me. This is at least how it partly feels in retro perspective. I had to get a new perspective to life; real purpose and real priorities.
This is what I found.

We are children of a living God and as such we have a divine potential.

If we do not set God and keeping our covenants as first priority, we do not keep even the first of the ten commandments which was meant to stiff necked children of Israel. Let us serve God of all our heart, strength, mind and love. Let us keep Him first always, in all things and everywhere.

Family is the next priority; establishing it, strengthening it and taking care of it.
Men and women, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, those who are and are going to be, let us do all we can to fulfill our sacred obligations. Let us remember that the most important responsibilities for women AND FOR MEN are at home.

These are followed by work and other responsibilities.

We have been given great blessings, promises and knowledge. Of these the Lord demands a reckoning at the last day. Let us be determined. We have a Father in Heaven and He loves us.

Brothers and sisters, the message of the restored gospel is true and real.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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