Obedience and Sacrifice...and Beards

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Every once in a while, I'll see an article online that talks about beards and how they shouldn't be a barrier to serving in the church.  I don't necessarily disagree.  It's just a beard after all.  At the same time, to those who think they shouldn't be asked to shave their beards to serve in a calling, I would say the same thing: it's just a beard.  We sustain our leaders when we harken to their counsel.  As it says in D&C 1:38: "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."  We are always blessed when we are obedient to the Lord's servants.

As I've been thinking about this issue, I couldn't help but think of the story of the rich young ruler in the New Testament.  Let me offer a slightly edited version from the account in Mark:

17 ¶ And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, shave thy beard, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had a great beard.

This story is always a sad one because we all recognize that the young man was choosing something temporal instead of something eternal.  I know I'm being a little unfair to guys with beards because this really applies to all of us.  We can insert pretty much any worldly thing into this story to make it apply to us.  Often, we tell ourselves that Christ(remember, if it's coming from His servants, it's coming from Him) isn't asking us to give up a certain thing, there are many things that He allows us to enjoy if we choose.  That may be true, but the real question is: if he did, would I obey?    If it's a small thing, we might think that it is inconsequential.  If it's a big thing, we might think that he surely wouldn't ask us to give up that.  If we are serious about gaining eternal life, exaltation, and all that the Father hath then the answer to the question: Will you give this up and follow me? should be, without hesitation, Of course!