Episode 8. March 20, 2016. Welcome to a new episode of my znukcast. It is Sunday, here in the Philippines and this is Tom Kunz. Today the topic of my znukcast is spiritual fuel. Maybe because I work for Shell, a global energy company, that this topic is especially meaningful to me. I hope it might be meaningful to you as well. So with that, let’s get started.
While today’s topic is about fuel, I am not interested in talking about Oil and Gas or electricity, instead, I want to share some thoughts I have had about spiritual fuel. This fuel is not constrained by formations in the earth, technology, or natural phenomenon. It is limitless in its availability and consistent in its application.
The only limiting factor is me. The only limiting factor is us.
I remember Elder L. Tom Perry in a conference address in 2008 talking about Henry David Thoreau’s experiences on Walden Pond and his conclusions that there are only 4 basic requirements to sustain life. Food, Shelter, Clothing and Fuel. He spoke about each of these and then said he wanted to talk about spiritual fuel instead of fuel that comes from natural resources. He said “The Lord has given us a beautiful plan about how we can return to Him, but the completion of our mortal journey requires spiritual fuel”.
In 1995 our youngest daughter MiCayla was born. Up until then we had 6 kids, which meant we could travel safely in our 8 passenger vehicle. But when MiCayla was born, we were one seat belt short. So we sold our Suburban and we bought a used 15 passenger van just prior to making a planned trip to Idaho to visit with family and show off our new daughter. I don’t remember much about that trip until the day we were to arrive back home. As we drove into Fort Worth, I knew I needed to begin looking for a gas station as I was getting low on fuel. I had remembered on the way up we had stopped at a nice truck stop in Dallas with clean restrooms and a nice assortment of snacks. Because I was unfamiliar with the van and the accuracy of the gas gauge, I was sure it would be like most vehicles and actually have more gas in the tank than the gauge showed. So I kept going, passing station after station. Well, unfortunately I was wrong. No matter how much I wanted it make it to that chosen station, I simply did not have enough fuel to make it. The result was my family sitting in an extremely hot van on the feeder road while I walked to the nearest gas station and bought some gas and brought it back. That’s what I remember about our trip.
As I have pondered on this experience, I have thought about how we as sometimes do the same thing with our spiritual fuel. Rather than getting up every morning and filling our tanks with spiritual fuel, we see how far we can make it during the day before we run out of gas. I worry that some of us may be trying to make it through the entire week with the hope of a refill on Sunday!
Different from a steel tank on the bottom side of a van, our spiritual gas tanks are more like our stomachs that tend to shrink when we go without food for extended periods of time. Maybe this is why Jacob counseled as he did in 2 Nephi 9:51 “…Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness”. What we need then are spiritual tanks that are fat rather than skinny tanks that have shrunken with neglect.
Let me give you another example. We have a lake in our subdivision back in Texas where we like to take our small jet boat and wakeboard or go tubing with the kids. Because of The drought we had in 2011, we couldn’t get the boat in the water after about the middle of June, so it just sat in the garage. When I was preparing to take the boat out for the first time one afternoon in 2012 the battery was dead. So I put the charger on it for an hour and tried to get enough juice back into the battery to start it. But an hour wasn’t enough and we were running out of time to get on the lake, so I used jumper cables to start it, thinking that once we were out and running on the lake the battery would be fine. Well I was wrong about that too. The first time I had to turn the boat off, it refused to restart. I will spare you the details of how we dealt with that little problem but needless to say we didn’t do much boating that day. Now that battery was less than 2 years old, but because it had sat in the heat of the barn for almost a year without use, it completely failed and could no longer take a charge. The sad part is that I purchased a trickle charger to put on the boat for this very purpose, but because I neglected to attach it last year and recharge the battery when it was still good, the battery became more valuable as a boat anchor rather than a boat battery.
I want to talk to my sons and son in law for a moment. Tyson, Weston, Garen, Chase and Brian, this is for you. For my daughters and daughter in laws, don’t stop listening. The promises of the oath and covenant are available to both men and women when they have been sealed together by priesthood authority in the temple.
The promise of the oath and covenant of the priesthood as recorded in the 84th section of the doctrine and covenants is “he that receiveth my servants receiveth me and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Fathers kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.” and I might add “unto her”. Of this statement, Elder Maxwell simply said: “There is no more”.
In Section 93 we learn that it takes time to receive the fullness of the priesthood talked about in the oath and covenant. Starting in verse 12:
“And I john, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fullness;”
The statements on grace are of special interest to me and they apply to all of us. First we learn that the Lord received Grace FOR Grace and then he continued from Grace to Grace. Receiving Grace for Grace refers to the greater blessings that come to us each time we hear the voice of the spirit and then obey that voice and in so doing act as the Savior would act to lift a struggling son or daughter of God. A natural result of that is that our capacities increase and we are then able to move from Grace to Grace (grace being the strengthening and enable power of Christ) until we receive a fullness. In a 2006 talk at BYU, Elder Christopherson reiterated that these things take time: These are magnificent promises: to be filled with light and truth, to comprehend all things, to be glorified in truth and know all things, and to come even unto the Father. I have no doubt regarding the literal fulfillment of these promises in those who exercise their agency to choose obedience, but along with you, I recognize that they are not realized in a day. Much obedience and experience are required before we enjoy a fullness. [Moral Agency – Jan 31, 2006 at BYU]
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared” If a man gets the fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.”
Okay, I want to come back to this concept of Spiritual Fuel. I worry sometimes that we may forget that we are still on the journey. That instead of accelerating, some of us may be coasting. There are no sabbaticals or retirement in the kingdom of God. Regardless of what we have done in our lives, there is still more for us to do. Receiving the fullness of the Priesthood should be our goal.
To do this, we have to make sure our spiritual tanks are full, that we are spiritually FAT. How do we do this? There is nothing new here. I have coined what I call Heaven’s Seven.
- Meaningful daily prayer – morning and night
- Daily scripture study resulting in new insights and a greater desire for righteousness
- Frequent attendance at the temple, weekly if possible
- Magnifying our church callings and especially that of being a 100% home or visiting teacher
- Listening for the whisperings of the spirit and then acting upon the promptings
- Building the kingdom of God with our time, our talents and our resources.
- Having a broken heart and a contrite spirit so we can repent when necessary and so the Lord can continue to teach us
Let’s all evaluate the status of our spiritual tanks. If the needle is not on the “FULL” symbol, let’s stop what we are doing and fill it up using the one or more of “Heaven’s Seven” that I just mentioned. And then lets keep it full. This will help us all be capable of finishing our journey to receive the fullness of the priesthood and be a blessing to our families and the Kingdom of God.
I love the Lord. I love the way I feel when I read the scriptures, pray, attend the temple, home teach and do family history work. I love the confidence that I have when my spiritual tank is full.