Friday, June 10, 2011

What Are You Gonna Get With Your Tickets?

So, you know what's ridiculously fun? Going to arcades, playing all those cheesey games, and getting tickets. Seriously legit! Ski-ball, basketball, or that little game where the lights go around and around, and the closer you get to the specific spot, the more tickets you get... Granted, that one is clearly rigged... But regardless, it's good fun. All the bright lights and loud noises keep you intrigued and entertained, and every time you barely miss the mark, you want to play again to do better and prove you CAN do it! It doesn't matter how many tokens or quarters it takes, you are going to beat that game and get 1000 tickets! Because you need those tickets! What can you get with 50 tickets? A couple tootsie rolls, a rubber lizard, a single colored toy, and maybe a cheap plastic harmonica. But what can you get with 1000 tickets? You can get that sweet robot toy! Sure, it'll probably break before you even get home, but there is nothing in the world you want more right now than that robot! So you will play game after game after game, spending your entire month's allowance on them, even asking for an advance from your parents to get the 1000 tickets and get that robot. The harder you work, the more tickets you get, the better the prize.
Now, I'd like to do something different: I'm going to show how my example does NOT compare to the Gospel.
So many times on my mission, I've run into people who think we as a church believe we need to work our way into heaven. That everything we do earns us brownie points, and it's our good works that save us. James said, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." (James 2:17). Yes, faith leads to works. An example James gives is a person who would see a brother or sister naked, hungry, and wanting, and simply says, "go in peace! Be warm and full!", but does nothing to help them. What good does that do? They can't just be full because you tell them to be. Following the commandments is a work. Repenting is a work. Any good, faithful Christian will agree that these things are necessary. No unclean thing can enter into the Kindgom of God, and it is only through repentance that we are made clean. The Lord said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15), so we know that He expects us to live good lives. Well, it's not each individual act that will earn our salvation. Frankly, there is no "earning" our salvation. We are indeed saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, and through his Atonement. It would be impossible for us to otherwise be made clean of our sins. We could repent, sure, but without Christ's sacrifice, we would still come short. Christ makes up the difference for us. So, even if we do lots and lots of good things, and are really good people, even if we work hard and get lots and lots of tickets, that doens't guarantee us anything. The purpose of this life is to experience trials, and make the most of them, and make good decisions, and to return to live with our Heavenly Father. We are able to do that through living Christlike lives, entering into necessary covenants, and repenting when necessary. It's not a reward system like you'll see at arcades. We don't just get to, at the end of this life, cash in all of our tickets for Celestial Glory. Simply follow all the Lord's commandments and endure to the end, and you, too, can have eternal life! It's that simple!


  1. It's not about what you necessarily do, but what you become!

  2. Not that earning all those tickets isn't a good thing. The Lord loves to bless us as we are obedient. But, you are exactly right. No matter how much we do, we will always fall short. That's why the Savior did what He did. What have you gotten from your spiritual "tickets" lately?