This week's talk is easily in my top 3 from April's conference, and here's why—I've been caught at the “heavenly vending machines" on more than one occasion (okay, many times). In fact, I've made it quite the habit—showing up with my request, inputing the effort I felt would warrant my request granted, then either 1) skipping away in delight or 2) shuffling my feet as I slink off in discouragement.
0/10, I do not recommend this strategy. This is NOT how a relationship is formed, fostered, and strengthened. Not in life with our fellow men, and certainly not with God or our Savior. Because here lies the risk that we will love God solely for what He does for us, instead of loving Him also for who we are becoming because of Him.
Does God have the power to grant our every wish should we put forth good works? Absolutely. But Elder Christofferson reminds us that “not every blessing predicated on obedience to law is shaped, designed, and timed according to our expectations.” We would learn very little and our growth would be stunted if that were the case.
So do our good works matter? Of course! But not because of some, “tally kept in celestial account books. These things matter because they engage us in God’s work and are the means by which we collaborate with Him in our own transformation from natural man to saint.” And that transformation is what better prepares us for the inevitable refining that we will encounter on this path of becoming—this path back to Him.
Building that relationship matters. Instead of only leaning on His power to part the clouds when the storm rages, you'll lean His presence to be with you through it. Let God manifest His love for you in more ways than just what He can do for you, but who He can be for you—who YOU can be, because of that love.
I love God for His presence in my life, not just His power. My good works are more than the means to desired blessings, but the way to a holier and happier life as I am transformed in Christ.