Such As I Have

Dear Will:

I think I may have mentioned that I am in my second year of teaching early morning Seminary—the Mormon equivalent of Bible Study. Each school-day morning I gather with 15 or 16 high-schoolers (juniors and seniors this year) for a 50-minute discussion of the New Testament. So here’s a little taste of what I’ve been up to recently while you were at home eating Cocoa Puffs and reading the sports page:

Last week we completed our study of the four gospels. We lingered a bit on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias to consider the Savior’s final recorded conversation with his disciples (John 21). We took interest in the fact that the miracle which took place that day (a prodigious haul of fishes) was essentially identical to the one which occurred the day Jesus called Peter, James, John, and Andrew into the ministry. It was an effective reminder, we thought, that the apostles were supposed to be fishing for men rather than mackerel.

“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” Thus began the awkward, perhaps even a little painful, but finally redemptive conversation between Jesus and his senior apostle. We noted how Jesus lovingly gave Peter three opportunities to confess Him—in fitting recompense for his three denials on the night and early morning before Jesus’ crucifixion. Those confessions were each followed by an admonition to feed the lambs and sheep of the Good Shepherd. We discussed how that admonition applies equally to us—after all, ours are His hands. He must rely on us to do the feeding. We talked about what that might mean—and who it is we might try to feed.

So, what if he asked each of us: “Lovest thou me?” How would He have us show our love for Him? The discussion led us to recall a couple of our Scripture Mastery verses for the year: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40); and “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). We also recalled a verse made familiar by a Primary song (which I sang briefly for them just to make them squirm): “By this shall men know ye are my disciples: If ye have love one to another.” There really is no other way to show that you are truly a Christian.

This week, we’ll be talking about the first few chapters of Acts, including one of my favorite stories of all-time: the healing of the lame man at the temple gates (Acts 3 and 4). One thing we will discuss for sure is the profound lesson contained within Peter’s simple declaration: “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee.” All Jesus asks us to give is “such as we have.” That is enough. His grace is sufficient to make up the rest. That even applies to the groggy and halfhearted who nevertheless find a way to stagger into the room and join me each morning at Seminary. And it applies to you and me as well.

I think of that event, from time to time: Of the two apostles—men of simple means—giving such as they had to bless that man’s life. And at such moments, I recommit to giving such as I have, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Perhaps this is just such an opportunity. And this brief note is such as I have.

PW

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