The other day, Sister Randall and I were tracting in a charming little town called Red Lodge. It's pretty cute. We were knocking on this one door where there was no answer. We knocked again. Still nothing. We were about to leave our card when a man from across the street yells at us, "No one lives there!" We yell back our thanks, and head over to talk with him. We ask him if he lives here, to which he responds, "Depends on what you want." We told him that we were the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To this, he put up his hands in the air, and said that he didn't want to talk to us. "Oh, well we are sorry." I offered. I then asked what I thought was an innocent question: "Have you ever talked to missionaries before?" To this the man became livid, and began yelling, "I said I don't want to talk to you! I'm nice the first time, but the second time I get cranky! Get out of here! Stop bothering people!" We wished him a good day, and walked away.
Now ordinarily, these types of encounters don't bother me. Yesterday, I allowed this man and his remarks to get to me. It had been a challenging morning, and I was in no mood to fight. I was about to give in to my emotions, and the tears were about to flow when we saw another man outside raking his leaves. How grateful I was that there was still work to be done, and still children of God in need of the gospel. After a very pleasant conversation with the second man, Sister Randall and I went on our way, allowing us to contemplate the events of the previous 15 minutes.
I reflected again and again on those man's words. "Get out of here. Stop bothering people!" Were we really bothering people? I know that some of the people we talk to each day would graciously agree with this man. However, there are many more who I have met who may take a different approach. We have spoken of Christ, and whether or not they have show any interest in wanting to learn more about Christ's restored church, both of us have been strengthened and edified.
What's more is I thought of my scripture study that very morning. It's the Last supper, and Jesus Christ is warning his apostles of the dangerous and trying times that lie ahead. He first commands them to love one another. He then follows with this lasting wisdom:
"The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." (John 15:20)
Now I am no where near the Savior, Jesus Christ. My suffering, and persecution is extremely dismal in comparison to his. But I understand what he is saying. It brought me comfort and hope. It helped me to keep on moving forward.
I then thought about what it is I do every day as a missionary for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I invite others to come unto Him by accepting His restored Gospel through faith in Him, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. But does that really bother people? A thought then occurred to me. I know where it came from, too.
Jesus Christ asks us to be bothered. He asks us to do what is right over what is easy. If we love him, we are to keep his commandments. I can think of a multitude of things that could be more fun and exciting than keeping the sabbath day holy, or remaining morally clean, or abstaining from drugs and alcohol. The right way is not always the most enticing. But Christ teaches his apostle Thomas, "I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
Indeed, most things in this life that are worth something come with a price. The same is true of things that are worthwhile in the eternities. Such is our salvation. It may be bothersome to follow the commandment. Perhaps it is inconvenient to sacrifice time and talent to the kingdom of God, but always worth the investment.
I hope I may always be bothered. I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He loves us. He gives us every opportunity to grow to become more like him. I am eternally grateful for his sacrifice and his everlasting mercy.