The following is a letter shared with me by my good friend James Ritchie who is serving with his wonderful wife as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Virginia. It is shared with his permission.
The more I witness Mediocrity - and it surrounds us - the greater chance I have that I'm going to be a witness to FEAR. Peter, out of Fear, (supported by the gospel according to Ritchie) denied the SAvior three times in one eventful night...it caused him to Weep Bitterly (according to Matthew, a better source of pure knowledge). The remorse Brother Peter felt at his failure to STAND UP for the Savior CAUSED CHANGE in his heart and motivated him to RESOLVE that when the next opportunity arrived to defend the Savior, it would not end in defeat or in a 'weep' but, instead, it would be a life changing moment for him and his future.
The opportunity came a few weeks later at the Day of Pentecost when things, again, were not going well for the Home Team and the invited guests instead of being impressed with the display of Spiritual Power thought they were witnessing a public display of binge drinking. The crowds were big, loud, boisterous and unimpressed until something happened that changed history and the course of events: PETER, this man who wept at his weakness the last time around, STOOD UP and altered the affairs of state forever. 3,000 baptisms later the crowd finally went home to tell the story of their Christian Conversion and the Miracles they witnessed that day. Peter, especially, slept better that night.
From FEAR TO FEARLESS in two public opportunities! What happened? Why the 180 degree turn of events? I'm not going to try and evaluate Peter's heart as he has earned the right for those of us in the cheap seats, instead of judging him, to learn from him. "Repent", Be "Quick to Observe", "Liken the Scriptures unto ourselves", and by so doing we too will STAND UP without FEAR when our opportunities come - and of more importance than responding to opportunities - we will begin CREATING OPPORTUNITIES instead of waiting for them. That's when we know we are on the road to RECOVERY FROM MEDIOCRITY, a disease caused by continual bouts with FEAR.
Many die without ever singing in the CHOIR let along LEADING IT. Books unwritten. Journals unkept. Companies never created. Trips never taken. Speeches never given. Phone calls never made. Missions never served. Notes never sent. Smiles never seen. Loaves of Bread never delivered. Words never expressed. For a Foreordained House of Israel Member, also known as one of the "Noble and Great Ones", a life sidelined by FEAR is a tragedy, but one played out far too often.
Joseph Smith, through revelation, while serving a five month sabbatical in Liberty Jail gave us the answer to overcoming our FEARS when he penned the words: "Let thy bowels...be full of charity towards ALL men...and let virtue garnish they thoughts UNCEASINGLY..." and then with a legal four letter word he Empowered us: "THEN" meaning after you have taken control of your HEART (Charity towards ALL) and MIND (Control thoughts UNCEASINGLY) he continues, "THEN SHALL THY CONFIDENCE WAX STRONG IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD" (meaning you would even have CONFIDENCE - lack of FEAR - to communicate with Deity - and if with Deity - wouldn't it be easy to transfer to ALL PEOPLE?) He even goes on to promise that the 'dews from heaven will distill' upon those living in such a righteous state (sounds like eligibility for Revelation to me) and even promises that the Holy Ghost will be our 'constant companion'. (D&C 121:45-46)
Simple translation: Take control of your heart and mind and CONFIDENCE will replace FEAR, inspiration will follow your every action and Angels will be your companion. Might be worth a try! Sure better than living a life of Mediocrity where most of our music remains unwritten and we often end up weeping over our weaknesses and failures. King Benjamin promised Never Ending Happiness for those who learn to STAND UP and live those two verses. Sure beats "weeping bitterly"!
With love from the Potomac,
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