Before his mission, my mission president Ben E. Lewis was the executive vice-president of Brigham Young University. I had an opportunity to meet with him at the end of his mission. As we sat in his office, I asked him what he would do when he returned home. He answered that he knew exactly what he would be doing. He pushed a letter across his desk for me to read. President Lewis had been assigned by the First Presidency to raise a considerable amount of money for Brigham Young University. I asked President Lewis the obvious question: “How are you going to raise so much money?”
He answered simply, “I will ask people for their money.”
That simple answer taught me so much. President Lewis would invite people to act. He knew his invitation would make a difference, and it did.
This month is one of invitation. Our Area Presidency has said: “We invite every member within our sphere of influence to prayerfully select someone to invite to attend sacrament meeting with them in June.” 1
Agency is an eternal governing principle of the plan of happiness. The Lord Omnipotent Himself acts by extending invitations to His children. 2
Man is created to act.
“Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” 3
There is something very special about the word ‘invitation’: it is kind, it is thoughtful, it is inclusive, and it is generous. Who is not thrilled to receive an invitation?
In my experience, people rarely—if ever—are offended by receiving an invitation; people are much more likely to be offended when they are not invited.
Let’s speak plainly: when we have experienced the love of God in our own lives, it’s not so difficult to summon up the courage to invite someone else to receive the blessings of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 4
Of course, they may either accept or decline our invitation. But truth be told, while I am not accountable for the choices others make, I am accountable for helping others by inviting them to do that which is good.
“But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.” 5
So, how will we ‘invite’ others in this month of invitation?
First, ponder. Make a list of those you would like to invite to come to sacrament meeting with you. Remember, the Holy Ghost loves lists! Names and faces will come into your mind. Your feelings of love for the people on your list will deepen. It is an act of faith on your part to make such a list. And such faith does not go unrecognised or unrewarded by heaven.
Next, pray often about the people whose names are on your list. Ask Heavenly Father to soften their hearts to receive an invitation. Consider fasting for help.
Then, make the visit. Do not let fear quench your faith. 6 Open your mouth. 7 The Lord will give you the words. 8 “I’d like to invite you to come to church with me. Will you come?”
“When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself. You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you.” 9
As we follow these simple steps and exercise faith in the Lord, I humbly and sincerely promise to everyone who reads this message that June 2012 will become a month of miracles. Our faith will be strengthened and the Church of Jesus Christ will increase in numbers and in spirit.
1 Letter from the Europe Area Presidency to Area Seventies, Stake Presidents, District Presidents and Mission Presidents in the Europe Area, 31 January 2012
2 “Know This, That Every Soul Is Free,” Hymns, 240
3 D&C 93:29-30 (see also 2 Ne 2:11-16)
4 "Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.” Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Joseph Smith, page 330-331
5 Moroni 7:13
6 2 Tim. 1:7; 1 John 4:18; D&C 67:3; “Doubt and fear are opposed to faith.” Preach My Gospel, page 116
7 D&C 30:5,11
8 D&C 84:85; 100:6
9 Preach My Gospel, page 11