Thursday, February 27, 2014

Waste Not

Waste Not, Want Not

Image from
I remember an experience I had when I was ten years old, which taught me an important lesson. We had just moved house back to where we had left nine months earlier. Being half way though the school year, mum took me back to my old school in a little country town. At this point, everybody that I had once associated with, had forgotten who I was. One sunny morning, my grandmother had taken me to school. My grandmother is a dear little old lady, with a heart of gold. Before school, she took me across to the bakery and bought me a little bottle of orange juice for my morning tea. Being a 10 year old, this was quite an exciting thing to have for morning tea, especially since I loved orange juice.

My Grandmother & Cousin
All morning my thoughts were drawn back to this little bottle of orange juice, I just couldn't wait till morning tea came around so I could finally have it! After what seemed like an eternity (1.5 hours), 10:20am came along and the bell rang signalling the start of morning tea. I grabbed my lunch box and raced down stairs to the eating area. I still didn't know anyone, but today that didn't matter. So I sat there alone and started eating my lunch. Now being the good boy, I had my Vegemite sandwiches first. Then as I was finally opening the little bottle of orange juice, I balanced it in my lap so I could place my lunch box on the seat. I was going to enjoy this!

As I enthusiastically went to pick up the bottle out of my lap, it became unbalanced. Time slowed down as I watched this precious little bottle come crashing to the ground, spilling the orange juice everywhere. My heart sunk as I saw the contents emptying all over the ground. Head bowed low, with a tear in my eye, I walked over and put the empty bottle in the bin and returned to my seat, now to be alone and without juice.

What would Nan say if she found out? How could I just waste such a precious gift by spilling it all over the ground. Guilt and shame flooded into my heart and I just broke down. My Grandmother would be so disappointed. This was, and still is one of the worst experiences I have had in my life. However, it taught me a crucial lesson as I vowed from that moment on I would never intentionally waste the gifts that I had been given.

What are we to do?

 God is our loving Heavenly Father, and because He loves us, he wants us to be happy and successful in this life, and return to live with Him in the next life. Everything we have is from Him so that our life can be made easier. Do we often waste what we have? Do we not fully understand the value of a gift? As a missionary, I see this happening far too often. And it's not just orange juice I'm talking about. God has given us talents, abilities, strengths and personalities as well as temporal possessions.

Since this experience I had with the orange juice, I realized just how crucial it is to follow God's commandments and use all of our talents, abilities and resources to do good in the world. I have seen so many times in my life where applying this lesson, I have been able to see miracles come from doing good to others, and treasuring the gifts we have received from God and others. As I have used the talents and abilities God gave me, I have seen lives changed, and hearts lifted. We are the tools God uses in His great work.

I know that God lives, and wants us to be happy and successful. He has given us so many gifts for us to use so that we can more fully embrace and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We show our gratitude for what we have by using them for good. As we show gratitude, God will pour out His blessings upon us and provide more opportunities to use them. This is all part of His plan for us, because He loves us and wants us to always be happy.

-Elder Cullen