Matthew 9: Credibility

When we establish relationships of trust with others, we have a greater ability to affect change in society.  In the Book of Mormon, when Ammon established with King Lamoni that he really meant to serve the king, that he (Ammon) had Lamoni’s best interest in mind, Lamoni trusted him. By serving the king, Ammon was able to earn his trust, and only then was he able to teach the king about the Savior Jesus Christ.  Young people know what it is like to have to earn the trust of others.

This is one reason why the youth of the church need to focus on their studies.  By preparing themselves academically, they put themselves in a position where they can increase their earning potential, and in effect have the ability to affect a positive change in the world.  The world rewards us according to what it thinks we are worth, not what we think!  In other words, to gain credibility with the world, we must follow certain rules.  In the words of President Hinckley:

President Gordon B. Hinckley

You have the potential to become anything to which you set your mind. You have a mind and a body and a spirit.  With these three working together, you can walk the high road that leads to achievement and happiness.  But this will require effort and sacrifice and faith.  You must get all of the education that you possibly can.  Life has become so complex and competitive. You cannot assume that you have entitlements due you.  You will be expected to put forth great effort and to use your best talents to make your way to the most wonderful future of which you are capable.  Sacrifice a car; sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world.  That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field. 1

An example from Matthew 9

The Savior was constantly challenged by those who wanted to take apart his message.  He is a perfect example to us of the importance of gaining the trust of those we teach.  If we as a church will collectively strive to do all we can to engender trust with those around us, the whole world will be a better place.  This is one of the main messages in this chapter: to make a difference you must be credible.  The following example is an illustration of this from the life of Jesus Christ:

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.  And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.   And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?  For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.  And he arose, and departed to his house.  But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.(Matthew 9:2-8)

By establishing His power with those that doubted Him, Jesus was able to reach those who were in the camp of the undecided.  Certainly there were those who listened to Jesus, but like many of us, had questions.  By showing His power to those who doubted, Jesus established credibility.  It came to the point where people came from all over to have Him heal their children:

While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live (Matthew 9:18).  Jesus had such credibility that people came to him after their loved ones died, knowing that He had the capacity to bring them back to life.

There are many illustrations of this principle.  Another example from scripture is Joseph, the son of Jacob (Genesis 39:2-5).  The more Joseph worked faithfully in the service of his overseer(s), the more the Lord blessed him, the more his reputation was established as one that could be trusted.  I emphasized that the way young people establish themselves is by living right today.  This is why to be effective as missionaries, we must live what we teach.  To have no intention of living what we teach will weaken both the messenger and the message.  This was one of the lessons Alma tried to teach his son Corianton: “O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words (Alma 39:11).”  It is worth mention that if they wouldn’t believe Alma, the Zoramites certainly wouldn’t find Corianton’s teaching believable!

How we interact with each other today will reap consequences in the future.  Every student will one day apply for a job, and they learn early on the importance of references.  The reputation we build today will follow us tomorrow.  As Thomas Jefferson has been said to have quipped, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” 2

Notes

1. President Gordon B. Hinckley, Words of a Prophet: Seek Learning, New Era, September 2007.

2. F. L. Emerson, in Reader’s Digest, March 1947.  See The Yale Book of Quotations, ed. Fred R. Shapiro (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2006), s.v. “F. L. Emerson.”  Emerson was actually quoted as saying, “I’m a great believer in luck.  The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”

About LDS Scripture Teachings

I write about ways scripture applies in our lives: LDSScriptureTeachings.org
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