Elder Gay Asks Members to Give Themselves to the Lord
“Son, will you sell your soul for a nickel?” asked the father of Elder Robert C. Gay when, as a boy, he didn't claim his real age in order to procure a less-expensive movie ticket and thereby purchase a few more candy bars.
“His words pierced my 12-year-old heart,” said Elder Gay of the First Quorum of the Seventy in his conference address Saturday afternoon. “It is a lesson I have never forgotten.”
Years later, Elder Gay found himself asking a similar question to a less-active Melchizedek Priesthood holder whose son was part of an elite sports team that played games on Sunday. After reminding the priesthood holder that he was promised “all that our Father hath” if he would magnify his oath and covenant, he asked, “Is a national championship worth more than all the Father has?”
“As we consider the nickel or national championship exchanges in our lives we can either self-justify our actions—or look to submit to the will of God. The Lord loves our righteousness but asks of us continued repentance and submission,” said Elder Gay.
Using the example of the chief Lamanite king, the father of Lamoni, who prayed, “Oh God, I will give away all my sins to know thee” (Alma 22:18), Elder Gay taught: “This is the exchange the Savior is asking of us—we are to give up all our sins, big or small, for the Father's reward of eternal life. We are to forget self-justifying stories, excuses, rationalizations, defense mechanisms, procrastinations, appearances, personal pride, judgmental thoughts and doing things our way. We are to separate ourselves from all worldliness, and take upon us the image of God in our countenances.”
Elder Gay then asked the congregation to remember that this charge is more than just not doing bad things. “Taking upon the countenance of God means serving each other. There are sins of commission and sins of omission, and we are to rise above both.”
To the question, “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Elder Gay responded, “Satan would have us sell our lives for the candy bars and championships of this world. The Savior calls us without price, to exchange our sins, take upon us His countenance, and to take that into the hearts of those within our reach. For this we may receive all that He has, which we are told is greater than all the combined treasures of this earth.”