People have always looked for treasures. They want to have something for themselves; something they can keep; something that will make them rich, that will enable them to receive strength, security, shelter; something that will allow them to survive. People are constantly looking to find these treasures in the outside world. This search is one of the forces that drew people in the past to move from one continent to another. It excited their imagination.
It is obvious that treasures found in the world cannot give that which people hope for. Many people have to live an entire lifetime to find out in the end that with all the treasures and riches of the world they have gathered, they have not found the real treasure. They remain empty, unhappy, dissatisfied, and plagued with growing fears. The miracle of the only real treasure is that it constantly produces blessings and the overcoming of fears. I am speaking about the treasure of having found Christ, of being able to know him—not merely to know all about him, but really to know him, as it is possible to one in his service in the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this last dispensation. In serving as a mission president now, I am humbled to share this missionary experience with many young people from different nations, sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven who give two years of their lives, forgetting about their own well-being and careers, in order to bring the message of the restored and true gospel of salvation to their fellowmen. In developing this ability to follow Christ, to do his will, to overcome our personal earthly desires, we choose a road that brings this deep and true satisfaction, this real protection from the threats of life and the conquering of our natural, earthly fears.
It is really necessary that we as members decide day by day whether we want to allow our fears to direct our actions or to live with a constant prayer in our heart to be able to analyze all feelings and emotions that come to us. Thereby we learn to draw upon the powers of heaven, which will enable us to overcome and to stand on holy ground, guided and directed by the Holy Ghost. What does this really mean? What is this real treasure that will enable us to stand in happiness and joy, in confidence, and with power each day of our lives? It means that we have to develop a close relationship with Christ, the Savior, the Redeemer, the Messiah, Jehovah, the Only Begotten of Elohim and let him and his Spirit take possession of our lives. That means learning to accept, appreciate, and to always follow the promptings of the Spirit. It takes courage and commitment to follow the promptings of the Spirit because they may frighten us as they lead us to walk along new paths, sometimes paths that no one has walked before, paths of doing more than is required, of acting totally differently from how worldly people act. For instance, we may be prompted to smile when someone offends us, to give love where others give hate, to say thank you where others would not find anything to be thankful for, to accept jobs that others would be too proud to do, to apologize where others would defend themselves, and to do all the seemingly crazy things that the Spirit prompts a righteous, honest, listening heart to do. Being led by the Spirit enables us, as the scriptures say, to build up treasures in heaven, “where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt. 6:20).
It is not enough for us to merely know that there will be treasures awaiting us in heaven. When we consistently follow the Holy Spirit, in a continuous, constant spirit of prayer, the world of miracles is open to us now, in this life. A life of adventures, of constant, growing amazement, of surprising insight and understanding of new aspects of life, of new dimensions of joy and peace will be the consequence.
We as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been blessed with direct revelation from heaven, which gives us the knowledge that by being in harmony with the Spirit, we are in harmony with the will of God, and that everything will happen to us as we desire. “He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh” (D&C 46:30; see also D&C 50:29).
I want to share with you one precious experience that has affected my life and opened the eyes of my understanding. As a businessman I was responsible for the sales of a group of clients, and I was constantly challenged to maintain a good relationship for selling in spite of not participating in popular habits like drinking alcohol, smoking, or telling improper jokes, things which the Spirit did not allow me to do. One day while I was working in my office in. Dortmund, Germany, I received a telephone call from one of my clients. He was calling me from Paris, France. His company had an exhibition there, and he invited me to come and visit him and talk about more business. I was immediately warned and alarmed by the Spirit that his real reason for inviting me to Paris, besides talking about business, was to find someone who would pay his pleasure bills in that expensive city. I was honored by the opportunity for more business, but scared by the expectation of the uneasy decisions that lay ahead of me. I knew that I had to go because this was my obligation as a salesman. I took the night train to Paris, traveling with a serious, constant prayer in my heart, a prayer that I would have the power to be successful without compromising my standards.
My friend picked me up in the early afternoon at the train station in Paris. I immediately discovered that he was not in the mood to talk about business, but that he wanted to show the city and its amusements to me, a total stranger unable to speak French. I intensified my prayer to my Father in Heaven, and he gave me a spirit of comfort, and even happiness and joy. I told my friend how happy I was to see him, and that I had to take the early night train back in order to meet some important responsibilities at home. He looked at me, smiling, and said, “No, no, you will stay with me until tomorrow. We have many important matters to discuss, and I will show you the city in privacy. No one will see you, and I will not tell anybody. Today we will enjoy life.”
I knew that his understanding of the enjoyment of life was totally different from mine, yet I also knew that his company’s business was vital for the survival of our company. So I prayed harder, pleading for help. Finally he invited me to a nice little restaurant, wanting to show me the places that only the knowing know. The Spirit said that there was nothing wrong with having dinner with him, so I agreed, and we started one of those long-lasting, expensive French meals. He ordered for both of us because he spoke fluent French, and he ordered two bottles of wine in spite of my strong protest that he not order wine for me.
The conversation was good, his bottle was emptied; mine remained untouched. Finally he became aware of this, took the bottle and filled my glass and his glass. He took his glass in his right hand, looked into my eyes, and said, “My dear friend, you know how much I enjoy your company and the standard you keep, but now you will drink this one glass to my health. If you don’t you will not receive one more piece of business from me.”
I felt my blood freeze inside of me. It came to my mind, “Brother Busche, now you have to make a decision!” All kinds of rationalizations came creeping into my heart. But before I could say anything, I was overtaken by a power that filled me with great joy and light. To my surprise, I found myself putting my right arm around him. This Spirit made me say something that I would never have been able to think of myself, something that changed the situation totally. I heard myself say, “Mr. So-and-so, you know that I know you better than that. I know that you would never make a logical business decision and have it based on such illogical conditions.” I gave him a big hug, and smiled in his eyes with a deep feeling of love and friendship. This surprised him for a moment, and he was unable to speak. Then his eyes began to fill with tears. He hugged me back, and began to speak. They were words of apology. He wept and said, “I want you to forgive me. If you had drunk this glass of wine, I would have made a fool out of you tonight. I wanted to destroy you, but now you will be my friend forever. Don’t worry anymore. Right after this meal I will take you personally to the station so that you can get your train on time. You will also receive all the business from me that you want and are capable of handling.”
And so it went. When I was in the little sleeping compartment on the night train back home, I cried for joy and happiness and praised the Lord for his help at the right time and in the right way.
I know that God lives. I have known it since my conversion over 21 years ago. But I am constantly amazed at how much more the Lord is able to help us when we fulfill the prerequisite of having a constant prayer for righteousness in our hearts.
Let us not be satisfied to live our lives without knowing Christ. The comfort of his Spirit enables us to walk a different path, in the direction we wanted to go before we came to this earth, a way that brings us more light, knowledge, ability, and joy each day. Finding this path and following its course is the only real treasure in life.