November 18, 2008 by sweetisthepeace
This past Saturday was one of those moments that defines your life as a parent. I was privileged to baptize my oldest daughter, who had just turned eight the day before. What a glorious experience! Here was my own child, entering into the Church and Kingdom of God. I felt for a moment how pleased the Father must be when we keep His commandments and strive to be like Him.
These are the moments that remind me that even when I struggle, it is well for me to hold fast to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Though there are moments I despair, I must remember that my life no longer belongs only to me. I have chosen to share that life with a beautiful wife, and she has brought me three beautiful children. My life belongs to them also now. The choices I make affect, and it is incumbent on me to use my agency for their benefit.
Then I am reminded that my life never truly belonged to me. I have been purchased at a price too dear to measure. The Savior taught many parables while on the Earth, but the one I think I like the best was one He taught nearly 2,000 years later (D&C 101:43 — 62):
43 And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the aredemption of Zion.
44 A certain anobleman
had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my bvineyard
, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive-trees;
45 And set awatchmen
round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
46 Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive-trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.
47 And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower?
48 And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves: What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?
49 Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things.
50 And while they were at variance one with another they became very aslothful
, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.
51 And the enemy came by night, and broke down the ahedge
; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive-trees.
52 Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the avineyard
, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
53 Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and—after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof—built the tower also, and set a awatchman
upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
54 And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.
55 And the lord of the vineyard said unto one of his aservants
: Go and gather together the residue of my servants, and take ball
the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house, save those only whom I have appointed to tarry;
56 And go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard; for it is mine; I have bought it with money.
57 Therefore, get ye straightway unto my land; break down the awalls
of mine enemies; throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen.
58 And inasmuch as they gather together against you, aavenge
me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.
59 And the servant said unto his lord: When shall these things be?
60 And he said unto his servant: When I will; go ye straightway, and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you;
61 And this shall be my seal and ablessing
upon you—a faithful and bwise
steward in the midst of mine house, a cruler
in my kingdom.
62 And his servant went straightway, and did all things whatsoever his lord commanded him; and aafter
many days all things were fulfilled.
There are a lot of lessons to be gleaned from this parable. But the part that touches my spirit every time is the Master’s poignant rebuke, “It is mine; I have bought it with money.” I spoke once about what that purchase price was. My testimony on that point is unchanged. My life is not my own. I have given it over wholly to others, and the Savior is first among them.