When I was serving a mission in Mozambique, Elder Richard G. Scott came to visit the members. During his time there, he spoke at a District conference that we packed with as many people as we could find—both active and less-active members, investigators, and anyone else who was interested in the prospect of hearing a modern day apostle speak. I was so excited that these people whom I loved so much would get such an incredible opportunity.
Elder Scott got up to speak and had not been speaking long when the power went out—no lights, no microphone, and in the sweltering heat and humidity—no fans. Chaos ensued. People started getting up and walking out. Most others began talking with one another. Almost no one was paying attention to the soft spoken Elder Scott as he continued to speak. I felt an anxiety as I looked around. I thought to myself, “Lord, how can you let this happen? This is such a great opportunity for these brothers and sisters, and if the power doesn’t come back on, they will miss it.” And to the majority who were leaving or were completely distracted, I thought: “Don’t you know that this is one of Christ’s modern apostles?”
But as I looked around the chapel I noticed that there were a select few who were leaning forward, looking intently at Elder Scott. They were straining to hear his message. I left my silent pleadings and began to strain to hear as well. And that’s when Elder Scott began to say things I never expected to hear an apostle share: he bore his witness of Jesus Christ and told those who were listening that he wanted them to never forget that an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ told them what he was about to say. He testified that he knew Jesus personally and began describing Christ’s immense love and sublime character traits. Then, he sat down. Moments later, the electricity came back on, and he got up and gave the sermon he had come to deliver. Few knew it, but we had just witnessed a miracle and a powerful metaphor.
In the midst of chaos and distractions, only a few in attendance continued to focus their attention on Elder Scott. As I looked around, I knew many of them. They were the ones who had sacrificed for the Gospel; they were the ones who had received a change in their countenances; they were the ones who were more than believers—they were the truly converted. They didn’t just strain to hear an apostle’s words on that particular day. They were the ones straining to hear the voice of the Lord every day. Their faith and diligence were rewarded by a gift that only they could fully appreciate. Many of the others were sitting right there and had no idea what they had just missed. And even if someone tried to fill them in, the apostle’s sacred witness would have been interesting, maybe even exciting, but they still wouldn’t have known the joy felt by the few who were prepared to hear Elder Scott’s sacred witness.
This experience makes me wonder: in the midst of the chaos and distractions of everyday life, am I straining to hear the Lord’s voice and the voice of His servants? Do my actions reflect a proper prioritization of spiritual things? Am I ever so distracted by things of the world that I don’t even realize the precious blessings I am missing out on? We know from modern day apostles that the parable of the 10 virgins refers to active members of the Church. So, it’s not enough to be active in the Church.
We each must consider whether we are also active in the Gospel and whether we are continually deepening our conversion or just spiritually coasting through life. And there’s probably no more powerful way to deepen conversion than serious and frequent study of the scriptures.