While reading my scriptures this morning on the bus ride to work, I came across a scripture that made an impression on my mind and heart.
When it comes to home teaching, the scriptural support we hear frequently for this practise are such things as the elders are “to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church” (D&C 20:42).
A scripture I read this morning gave me added hope that my seemingly fruitless efforts are purposeful. The words I read are direct from the resurrected Saviour and found in 3 Nephi 18:31–32:
[If] he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered. Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.
The Saviour’s words express the love He has for all humankind, even the unrepentant sinners. His words express His apprehension with the chance the sinner could spiritually harm His people, yet at the same time He recognises the worth there is in people attending church and receiving spiritual nourishment. He illustrates to us that we should make the sinner feel welcome at church, going so far as to proactively helping them. He extends this to a statement of hope by telling us that we cannot tell will return to his fold, but when they do, they could very well be ready to roll up their sleeves, lace up their boots and go to work building the kingdom of God.
He’s preaching to the converted on this point. I grew to understand the importance of home teaching years ago when I was first called into an elders quorum presidency shortly after my mission. The saviour’s words simply reiterated what I already know and that to which I am already committed.
There are some people I have been home teaching for over three years (the length I’ve been in this ward) and they have never come to church. They turn down all my requests to come out to ward socials and to come out to church. Yet I go there every month as a representative of the ward leadership and, hopefully, a disciple of the Christ. I pray daily that these spiritual siblings of mine might have their hearts pricked and return to church where we can sit side by side as brothers and sisters armed in the battle against evil.
I hope I can be there the day my prayers are answered.