This past Sunday, we went to our usual two wards, the student ward then the family ward. It was Ward Conference in the student ward, and the Stake President gave an amazing lesson on sacrifice. Then, in Elder's Quorum, we had a great lesson on choice. The two go pretty much hand in hand. Sacrifice is something we do, willingly, that may be an inconvenience for us, but benefits us in the long run. But, a big part of sacrifice is choice. You have to choose to do this thing, to make this sacrifice, and do it gladly. If it's done grudgingly, then it's not going to be as meaningful. Sacrifices bring blessings. If we are willing to do the things that the Lord requires, regardless of how it effects us, we will see great things come of it. An easy example is tithing. Tithing can be difficult. 10% of your paycheck can go towards some cool things. I remember before coming on my mission, I was working full time and getting $500 paychecks. Well, $400 of it would go towards rent, leaving me with only $100. I could easily have not paid my tithing and used the money to go do things with my friends. I even could have used it to help pay for the supplies I still needed for my mission. That's not selfish, I would need them to do the Lord's work. But, I still knew that tithing had to be paid, so I did. I would pay my $50 of tithing every 2 weeks, and be left with only $50 to somehow pay for everything, while also having fun with my friends. It all worked out, though. I was able to do the things I wanted, and get all the things I needed for my mission (thanks, in big part, to the kindness of others!). I definitely saw the blessings of paying my tithing.
Choice is the driving force behind sacrifice. We have to choose to do these things, and do it with a glad heart. If we are doing it because we feel we have to, or we do it just cause we're going to get blessings, but not because we honestly want to do it, knowing it's the right thing, then our hearts won't be there, and it won't be meaningful. In the last general conference, President Monson gave a talk called "The Three R's of Choice". According to the talk, the three R's are the right, the responsibility, and the results of choice. Thanks to our Heavenly Father, we have the right to choose for ourselves. We can choose to follow his counsels and his prophets, and to obey his commandments, or not to. We can choose to come to church, or not. We can choose to make necessary sacrifices for our Lord and for those around us, or not. We are all able to choose. The responsibility of choice is an interesting one. Along with the right given us, we are responsible for making the right choice. It falls on us: the only thing that is truly ours is our free will, and what we do with it. The Lord has given us prophets, scriptures, and commandments to show us what we should be, how we should act, and what we should do, and we have the responsibility to follow what he wants of us. Whether we follow them or not, there are results. If we are faithful and do these things, we are blessed. The Lord said "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). If we choose the right, we have the promise of the Lord, which are great blessings. If we don't, then we are subject to the repercussions of our actions. There is a result to every choice, right or wrong. It's simply up to us to choose which result we get, whether they be good or bad. We have been given the tools and guidance, we just have to decide what to do with it.