I talked to a young man last night who had just returned from his LDS mission to Idaho. “Tell me about your mission.” He said that he shared the teachings of Jesus, and that families could be forever. I asked him, “What did Jesus teach?” “You mean like in the Four Gospels?” “Yeah.” He paused. “Well I spent most of my time reading the Book of Mormon. I really don’t know the Four Gospels that well.”
So I shared with them the Great Commission in Matthew. Jesus said to make disciples, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28) Everything he commanded.
Then I shared Jesus’ parable in Matthew 13 of the four soils. The seeds that took root in healthy soil bear a ton of fruit: “Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Jesus tells us how to be like this soil: “He who has ears, let him hear.” Be careful how you listen.
Then I shared Jesus’ words in John 15: Jesus said that if you abide in him, and he abides in you, you will bear much fruit. Not only that: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
So I pleaded with this 21-year-old: Your LDS mission did not equip you to truly know the words of Jesus. Here is your challenge, your new mission. Don’t arrive at 30-years-old without knowing the words of Jesus. Become obsessively acquainted with them. Like a man who loves a movie and can complete its quotes.
Jesus said in Matthew 24, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” His words will last longer, and always be more important than anything your church, your heroes, your leaders, or your family tells you.
Know these words, not to be smart, not to be better than others, not to be puffed up with knowledge, but to build on a solid foundation. I told this young man: The older you grow, the more you will find your Solomon-like endeavors failing, the more you will ache to build something that lasts. A legacy, a productivity, an ambition that matters, a fruit that is satisfying, a house that stands. Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7)