I heard a story recently that left me haunted with an image of how we treat the gifts that God and others have given us. A friend of mine, filled with compassion for a young student whose activities were severely limited by a respiratory problem, organized a campaign to buy a $5,000 portable respirator device that could allow the boy to go outside during recess at school instead of being largely immobilized. I think the device is much cheaper now, but at the time it was quite expensive. She managed to get public funds made available to buy a unit that could bless the boy's life. The unit would belong to the school but be loaned to the boy's family. He could take it home but was expected to bring it with him to school. Shortly after receiving this gift, the young boy quit bringing it to school. He said he forgot it, and would try to remember next time, but the same thing happened day after day. Puzzled school officials contacted the mother to see how they could help, and the truth came out. The boy's mother had sold the device at a garage sale.

I felt the pain of my friend who saw such a loving gift be discarded in such stupidity. It was not only the tragedy of wasting so much for so little, but the fact that she was discarding something that her son needed and was hurting her own family with her foolishness. I almost shook with frustration as I contemplated the scene, and then it hit me how much we all are like that mother when we reject the gifts that God has given us, especially the gift of His Son. The precious gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is meant to free us from the chains that immobilize us in sin and give us the breath of joyous, eternal life. It is meant to bless us and our children and their children, but when we reject it and sell it off as trash in our own spiritual garage sale as we abandon the Gospel of Jesus Christ and remain in ignorance and sin, we always hurt more than just ourselves. We often hurt our children and others in our lives. We may make the precious gifts of the Gospel inaccessible, at least for a while, to those who need those blessings now.

How great the price was that bought us the gifts of freedom and life through the Atonement. How cheaply we sell it off when we sin and when we reject the gift of the Gospel. May we understand how horrific our betrayal is and swiftly seek to repent and daily draw closer to the Lord on the path of faith and repentance.
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