What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Scenario 1: You’re in Gospel Doctrine class. The teacher asks for a volunteer to say the closing prayer.
Scenario 2: After Elders Quorum, the person conducting asks for people to stay after and fold up chairs. Your meeting after church was cancelled, but you’d really like to go home and eat.
Scenario 3: Four people are needed to work at the Church welfare farm this Saturday. You were thinking about going snowboarding that day, but hadn’t yet set any firm plans.
A lot of people will stare at their shoes when one of the above scenarios occur. They hope that others will volunteer and take the responsibility. On the other hand, those who understand the law of consecration realize the need for and importance of volunteerism.
President Hinckley explained the importance of volunteers in God’s kingdom:
I am constantly amazed at the vast amount of volunteer service which our people give. I am convinced that volunteer service is the Lord’s way of accomplishing His work. The operation of wards and stakes and quorums, and the functions of the auxiliary organizations, all move forward under the direction of volunteers. The vast missionary program is dependent on volunteer service.
So volunteers are needed in the Church, but what does that have to do with consecration?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:
Sacrifice and consecration are inseparably intertwined. The law of consecration is that we consecrate our time, our talents, and our money and property to the cause of the Church: such are to be available to the extent they are needed to further the Lord’s interests on earth.
In the same article, he discussed the status of the law as it relates to us:
Now I think it is perfectly clear that the Lord expects far more of us than we sometimes render in response. We are not as other men. We are the saints of God and have the revelations of heaven. Where much is given much is expected. We are to put first in our lives the things of his kingdom.
We are commanded to live in harmony with the Lord’s laws, to keep all his commandments, to sacrifice all things if need be for his name’s sake, to conform to the terms and conditions of the law of consecration.
We have made covenants so to do—solemn, sacred, holy covenants, pledging ourselves before gods and angels.
We are under covenant to live the law of obedience.
We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice.
We are under covenant to live the law of consecration.
If you are still unsure of how the law of consecration relates to our current situation after reading that quote, and are a temple-going member, I suggest you go to the temple again and pay close attention. What you learn will likely be enlightening.
Consecration is a process through which we refine ourselves as we bless, lift, and support others. Elder Stephen B. Oveson of the Seventy explained the process through which we consecrate ourselves:
Our consecration will not happen with one single act. In this endeavor, those who willingly accept calls to be nursery leaders, Cub Scout den mothers, early-morning seminary teachers, Scoutmasters, or other time-consuming but sometimes perceived low-profile callings in the Church surely are examples of what consecration is all about.
In the long run, offering ourselves for sacred uses might simply mean maintaining a consistent attitude of meek willingness to offer all we are capable of giving at any given time while we help those about us do the same. Consecration seems to be a day-to-day process of dedication, humility, refinement, and purification as we follow the example of the most consecrated person of all time—our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.
By volunteering within the Church we not only help move the kingdom forward (in small, sometimes imperceptible ways), but we fulfill the covenants we have made. We live the law of consecration.
When you are in Church and the teacher asks for somebody to read a verse of scripture, or help pass out hymnals, or play the piano, I invite you to volunteer. Resist the urge to stare at your shoes. Step up, reach out, and volunteer “[your] time, [your] talents, and [your] money and property to the cause of the Church”. Every little bit counts.