Use Words Only When Necessary

It was Sunday after church when I made my way to the rehabilitation center of the local hospital. My Bishop asked me and one other church member to visit an out-of-town church member who was a patient there after having lost a limb in a lake accident and was finishing his several weeks of in-patient therapy. We were charged with administering the Sacrament (Lord’s Supper) to “Mr. M” and his wife. While we were to perform this ordinance and service to these two church members, the honor became more humbling than I expected.

The fellow church member and I arrived while Mr. M. was still in his physical therapy, so the two of us stood outside of his room while waiting for him to return. We talked and got to know one another, as we hadn’t had the opportunity to do so in the past.

As we were talking we heard – in the distance – a jubilant voice greeting what sounded like friends. That jubilant voice was Mr. M. He was in the process of telling his friends he was happy to see them, but he had to first visit with the “two gentlemen who came from church.” 

As he made his way from down the hall to his room, he invited us in and introduced himself and his wife. It is minimizing the character of these two people to say they were beautiful. 

We administered the Sacrament by both praying over and passing the bread and water representing the sacrifice Jesus the Christ made for each of us and also the renewal of the commitment we have made to him through baptism. As we did so, I had an overwhelming feeling about the man and woman I was honored to share this moment with.

Here is a man who in a sudden and violent change of events lost his leg. His life has been forever altered in ways most anybody will never understand. Yet, his soul could not be hid; it was a shining city on a hill… a candle that couldn’t be hid. 

As he thanked us for taking time out of our Sunday afternoon to visit him and his wife, I felt an overwhelming burden to share my heart with him. 

To paraphrase my words: “Sir, I know we have never met and may never meet again, but being here with you has been humbling. You have experienced this extremely unfortunate event and life-altering experience; but you remain positive, of good cheer, and a beautiful example of someone who doesn’t let something like this take his heart away from goodness. You are an inspiration to me.” 

As I turned from him I saw his wife with tears in her eyes. Placing my eyes back on him, I listened to him tell me of how his family, friends, and our Heavenly Father have allowed him to remain positive. 

As we left I thought about just hours before, in church, somebody reiterated the quote, “Preach the Gospel wherever you may go. When necessary, use words.” Today, Mr. M. preached the Gospel to me, and words weren’t necessary. 

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