Yesterday my wonderful son entered the waters of baptism and took upon himself the name of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not allow anyone beneath the age of eight to partake of this ordinance because the individual must make it voluntarily, understanding the responsibilities and blessings before accepting them. Indeed, a child or adult must pass an interview beforehand ensuring their understanding and worthiness to do so. We also confirmed my son a member of the Church and gave him a priesthood blessing wherein he received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Each blessing proves different and is tailored by inspiration to the specific person. There is no rehearsal or premeditation before the blessing. It is given as a man bearing the priesthood feels impressed and inspired. I have often known men who have given sensational, amazing blessings and immediately afterward could not remember at all the words that left their mouths.
Josh's blessing indicated that he was a very strong spirit and that God sent him to the earth at this morally dark time because he was so valiant and could help others stay strong in the face of temptation and adversity. I believe it; I have always known that of him. Long before he was born I could feel that kind of strength in him.
After the ordinance, blessing and subsequent party at our house, Josh wanted to go to Walmart and finally purchase the long awaited Minecraft Lego set he and his sister had wanted very badly for some time. They had scrubbed bird droppings off the porch, cleaned dog excrement from the backyard and polished indoor furniture to earn the money for this fairly expensive toy. Since we were out already and they had not the money with them we agreed that I would pay for it and upon returning to the house they would reimburse me.
I received a strong impression as we entered the parking lot which lingered with me as we made the purchase and returned home. As we sat in the living room they placed the money into my hands so I could count out and take the requisite amount. According to the impression I had, however, I stopped and told them that I was very proud of them for working so hard. I was proud of them for achieving their goal. I was proud of both of them for striving very hard to be good people. I was proud of them most of all for each making the choice to follow the Lord Jesus Christ into the waters of baptism. This single decision of baptism, I concluded, was worth more than all the money on earth, and pushing their hard earned wages into their hands once more I finished with, "Take it back."
The look on my son's face was worth it.
I think the Lord does that to us sometimes. He puts us through very hard things for extended time periods and we slave recklessly, proving ourselves willing to give all we have to Him if we can just get the blessing we so desperately need. And then at long last, when we have done all we can and the time is right, we hand Him everything we have become in payment for what it is we feel we need. With a smile, He unexpectedly gives us not only the blessing for which we worked but all the strength, tender mercies and wisdom we acquired along the way.