The Candle We Burn…

I really feel blessed of the Lord. When I look at the world around me, God’s abundant creation, and wonder at its order and magnificence, I feel blessed. When I ponder the freedoms I enjoy, to write, worship or to speak, to sample sweet peace, or at least for it to strive, I feel blessed. When I stroll the paths through lands that surround me, sampling fruits of orchard trees and garden vegetables, a place of plenty, I feel blessed. When I am in the shelter of my home, four walls and roof, windows to see clearly, and with loving family all around, I feel blessed. Life is a blessed thing, and for this I am grateful, for I alone could not these blessings achieve, but only for my God, who has given me far beyond my means.

We all receive blessings. They always come in the midst of and between trials, but blessed are we indeed.

We start off in life owing as helpless infants unable to survive but by the kind hand of parents who nurture and rear. There is no paying back for the gift of birth, whether by earthly love of parents or God’s breath of life. The spark of our mortal creation, a part of God’s great plan of happiness, is a gift beyond our effort, one that is only made complete by rebirth in Christ unto life eternal.

This life, our mortal time, is given us with accountability, by stewardship, a time to nurture our creation as He would have us do to serve His ends and to aid in the joy and salvation of others. Of our stewardships the Savior declared, “I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures” (Doctrine and Covenants 104:13).

Creation—Living Creatures, by Stanley Galli

When God created Adam He gave to man dominion and stewardship over all of the earth and everything that was on it. As recorded in the Old Testament account of the creation, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26). It was part of God’s plan to bless man with things unearned to be cared for and shared with fellow beings that all in the family of God might be blessed.

For this purpose we are blessed with abundance in life that we might develop our talents and skills, care for our resources, to use them in the service of our God and fellow man, which is the same. As King Benjamin taught, “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

We serve the needs of our infant children without second thought placing their good ahead of our own throughout childhood and life. We serve the needs of our fellow man when we do wise by our stewardships and use those things with which we are blessed to further bless the lives of others in-service and in giving.

The wise servant was not the one who buried his talent, but the one who developed to increase. ln this fashion we are able to serve others and achieve a symbiotic relationship. When we in our stewardships help the poor and the needy, or serve those who have not been blessed with the same gifts as we, God sustains our sharing through the gifts of others. When we serve in harmony with others we are living a Zion life.

We build a community of Christ as we care for those in need among us. As President Marion G. Romney taught, it is for our good that we use our blessings, gifts and talents in the service of others. “The Lord … could take care of [the poor] without our help if it were his purpose to do so. … But we need this experience; for it is only through our learning how to take care of each other that we develop within us the Christlike love and disposition necessary to qualify us to return to his presence” (General Conference, October 1981).

“It is only through our learning how to take care of each other that we develop within us the Christlike love and disposition necessary to qualify us to return to his presence.”

President Marion G. Romney

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind and provides the necessary grace and atonement to return sons and daughters of God to the presence of our Father in Heaven. Although only our Redeemer can provide this soul saving sacrifice, in a multitude of ways we become saviors of men, providing needed care from birth and throughout life by selflessly serving and sharing. As followers of Christ we are “set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men” (Doctrine and Covenants 103:9).

In His earthly ministry Jesus taught, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

We all have stewardships for which we are accountable. We have stewardships for the gifts with which we were born, for those talents that we have or may yet develop, for those things by the work of our hands and by God’s grace to have acquired in life, and we have stewardship for our neighbor, our fellowman, all the children of Heavenly Father. We have been blessed that we might bless others to their needs and to their wants, both temporal and spiritual.

May we walk uprightly before God and man being just and merciful with all those we encounter. May we be worthy stewards of the gifts of God and share in kind. Let us heed the invitation to be saviors of men and let our lights so shine to illuminate the path back to He who blessed us with the candle we burn. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.