Consecration: Then and Now
by Hollie Ogden
"Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end;" Omni 1:26
At Brigham Young University, some students in a Doctrine & Covenants class were asked a question about consecration as part of a pretest. The question went like this:
The law of consecration:
a) Is not practiced by the Church today
b) Is not practiced in the Church today but will be brought back in the millennium
c) Is practiced in part in the Church today through tithes and offerings, but not in full
d) Is practiced in full in the Church today
Think about it.
Which option would you pick?
Looking at church history and how the Saints executed consecration in the early church, the answer seems clearly to be C, in part in the church today, but not in full. 50% of the 738 tested students picked that answer. What we do looks very different than what the Saints practiced!
But what about that covenant we make in the temple? The last law we promise God we will live?
It’s the law of consecration!
So obviously, the correct answer is D: the law of consecration is practiced in full today. However this question may seem misleading because the law is different in practice today- we don’t meet with our bishops and discuss all we own and how it will be distributed among the church. But we are still asked to give our time, talents, and our lives. In full, not in part.
I remember an experience I had this summer. I worked landscape at a temple and was listening to a conversation among my coworkers. One made a remark on the state of the landscape of some chapels in his neighborhood, and he wondered aloud if the Church would make a similar step in their lawn care as their janitorial needs: hand it over to the members to take care of. And as soon as his idea had hit the air, he realized the implications and exclaimed “Well, don’t look at me, I’d never have time to mow the lawn at the church!”
Then a sweet older woman said softly, “Isn’t that what we do in this church? Isn’t that what we promise to do? Give what and when we don’t think we can give.” This affected me profoundly. It is what I covenanted to do. Under covenant, we give our time even when we feel there is no way it will all fit together- but the Lord always provides a way.
Here it would be convenient to tell a moving story about a faithful ward organist who was always willing to share her musical talents to benefit the ward, or about an eloquent speaker who gives moving and impactful sacrament meeting talks and devotionals. Both are meaningful examples of what consecration of talents may look like, but everyday opportunities look a bit different than musical numbers and formal talks. Here’s just a few examples of what consecrating your talents may look like.
It could be opening up a particular scripture you have to a friend to help clarify something you have a strong testimony of. It looks like teaching someone how to use family history technology if you’re particularly gifted with computers. It could be listening to a friend with an open ear and an open heart, sitting with someone if you’re comfortable with silence, taking initiative when you go to clean the church because you’re a great leader.
Consecration of talents takes more forms than it is possible to write about. Too many people discount what they have to give because it doesn’t look like the typical “sacrament meeting” talents that we first think of. And a quick visit to Matthew 25 reminds us the danger of neglecting those talents: give your all and receive all in return.
Our very lives.
I read this in a Liahona article,
“Such as I am, I am at the Master’s pleasure. He died for me, and I hope that I shall never consider my life as too great a sacrifice to offer unto Him, if necessary, in return.” (March 2021 Liahona, Early Missionary Calls: Voices from a Century Ago)
Those words came from a missionary called to serve in the early church, called to leave behind his home and family- his whole life. We think of laying down our lives meaning we would gladly face fatality, but sometimes living for the Lord is harder than dying for Him. Giving Him our lives means yielding our hearts to him (Helaman 3:35) He asks us to be willing to uproot ourselves and move our families across nations if He calls. He asks for our hearts and minds, our livelihood and relationships as He sees fit. He asks that we change our social, academic, political, economic opinions as He calls. He asks for us to give everything.
And everything is not too much to ask for the One who gave all.
This was beautiful, thank you.
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