My awards, priested Corn Leader, announced that the following week a man from our neighborhood would be attending our services for the first time in more than 50 years. The following week, the last Sunday of March, this man, Jerry, joined us for priesthood meeting. I instantly took to him. He carried an air of understated elegance and stood and introduced himself in a soft, plain spoken voice. When the meeting adjourned, I stepped into the hallway for a couple minutes. Sunday school. Our next meeting was held in that same room.
When I returned, there was an open seat next to Jerry, so I took it and extended my hand. When the class ended, people began filling to the Chapel for Sacrament meeting, but Jerry remained flumped in his chair, staring at the floor. I stayed there with him. Everything all right? He blinked a couple times, formulating a thought. That discussion went over my head. Everyone here knows so much much about the gospel, and I know so little. I feel like I’ve wasted my life. I should never have come back.
And then, like a lightning flash, I thought, burst into my mind. When you get home today, I want you to open the Matthew 20. It’s a parable there about laborers and a vineyard. The Lord calls some workers early, some little later, some later, and then later, still and some of the last hour of the day. But if they go to work for him, he pays them all the same wage. The message is that it’s never, never too late for us to respond to God. And His eyes were never too late.
Jerry’s brows soften the little. I like the sound of that. Well, I like it, too, and I believe it’s true. So today, after you get home, read that parable, and then the next time we’re here at Church, I want you to tell me what your impressions were as you read it. Yeah. Okay. He pledged. I can do that. The following week it was General Conference, one of the talks that we can struck me with particular force. It was Elder Jeffrey R. Hollands, and it was titled.
But Laborers in the Vineyard. Elder Holland expounded on that parable from Matthew 20 and then expressed this beautiful thought.
I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable, but however late you think you are, however, Mary chances you think you’ve missed. However Mary mistakes, you feel you’ve made or talent, you think you don’t have or distance from home and family and God, you feel you have traveled. I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s atonement shines.
The Sunday after General Conference, back at our war building, Jerry found me. Hey, did you hear Elder Holland? He asked. He spoke about that parable. It was a message Jerry felt intended directly for him. He became a vital member of Award Beloved of the Regulars, a Minister to those in the margins, and a Pilgrim of temples in several Western States. If you’re disheartened about all the spiritual experiences you feel you don’t have, then I would say to you what the Lord once communicated to my friend Jerry, which is that in God’s eyes, you’re probably doing a lot better than you think you are.