In Helaman 4:12, we read that the Nephites suffered tremendous military defeats not because of some strategic oversight or the overwhelming numbers or abilities of their enemies, but “because of the pride of their hearts.” One of the ways in which this pride manifested itself was by “making a mock of that which was sacred.”
If you consider today’s most popular primetime television programming, you don’t have to think very long before finding things that mock the sacred – things that demonstrate a complete lack of reverence. Things that repulse the Spirit of God and drive it away from our hearts and minds.
What is reverence? Why is reverence important as a missionary attribute?
Reverence, as the song goes, “is more than just quietly sitting.” A decent definition of reverence: alert, attentive quietness.
Another way to look at being reverent is to lay aside the question of quiet vs. loud and instead think of a scale running from contempt to apathy to respect to honor. Those who seek to share the gospel of Christ need to hold a constant, burning sense of honor toward Him and His atonement, and all that surrounds the atonement in the gospel doctrine.
When you preach the gospel reverently, you invite the Holy Spirit to bear powerful witness of your words. When you live reverently and thus proclaim the teachings of Christ by example, the Spirit distills upon the minds of your observers and they realize deep down that the pattern you are following is the pattern they should follow – the foundation upon which they should build (see Helaman 5:12).
Without reverence, you cannot be a good missionary.
With reverence swelling up in your heart and mind, you can rest assured that you will never end up in the same scary dilemma that the Nephites did when they realized they were devoid of reverence: “the judgments of God did stare them in the face” (Hel. 4:23).
Please examine your life. Are you as reverent as Jesus Christ? If not, how could you become more reverent? What will you do to become a more reverent emissary of the gospel rock of the Redeemer, so that others may learn through you to build their lives on that rock?