Insight on the Atonement from My Son

A few days before my son Daniel left on his mission, he was with me on a home teaching visit. He gave a spiritual thought from the First Presidency Message in the Sept. 2005 Ensign by Elder Monson, “The Profound Power of Gratitude.” He read the following excerpt:

The beauty and eloquence of an expression of gratitude is reflected in a newspaper story of some years ago:

The District of Columbia police auctioned off about 100 unclaimed bicycles Friday. “One dollar,” said an 11-year-old boy as the bidding opened on the first bike. The bidding, however, went much higher. “One dollar,” the boy repeated hopefully each time another bike came up.

The auctioneer, who had been auctioning stolen or lost bikes for 43 years, noticed that the boy’s hopes seemed to soar higher whenever a racer-type bicycle was put up.

Then there was just one racer left. The bidding went to eight dollars. “Sold to that boy over there for nine dollars!” said the auctioneer. He took eight dollars from his own pocket and asked the boy for his dollar. The youngster turned it over in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters–took his bike, and started to leave. But he went only a few feet. Carefully parking his new possession, he went back, gratefully threw his arms around the auctioneer’s neck, and cried.

When was the last time we felt gratitude as deeply as did this boy? The deeds others perform in our behalf might not be as poignant, but certainly there are kind acts that warrant our expressions of gratitude.

Rather than focus on the theme of gratitude, Daniel then drew an interesting insight from the story about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He said we are all like the little boy, always falling short in spite of our best efforts, but Christ in His grace and love reaches out to us and pays (the infinite price of) the deficit. I thought it was a nice twist on the story.

And for the skeptics, yes, I admit that this story fails to give verifiable details. Perhaps it never happened. But there are thoughtful people in the world who make these kind of stories come true. I’ve been the recipient of that kind of kindness many times, and hope that I can be alert and sensitive enough to be on the giving end when such opportunities arise.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

10 thoughts on “Insight on the Atonement from My Son

  1. This story occurs many times every day. Every time that a hand is extended to a child, elderly, poor—-every time that the bereaved are comforted, a smile is given to those less fortunate–.

    I guess it is like in Matthew where the song “A poor wayfaring man of grief came from.

    Minister Minister, and Minister. Love one another.

    I fall very short on the above.

  2. One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.
    When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life, there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.
    “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me.”
    The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints in the sand, it was then that I carried you.”

  3. The poem/story “FootPrints in the Sand” is a beautiful one.

    I have been near death a few times. Jesus did not carry me in those cases. I was carried my brothers in the Priesthood.

  4. To Anonymous above…

    I would submit that Jesus did carry you if your “brothers in the Priesthood” are following Matt 15:11-17.


    Ours is a Church of action. What a wonderful blessing it is that God and Jesus Christ let us play a role… (even if it is a small one!)

  5. “I’ve been the recipient of that kind of kindness many times, and hope that I can be alert and sensitive enough to be on the giving end when such opportunities arise.”

    You have been. Thank you.

  6. WHoops!

    I meant JOHN 15:11-17… makes a little more sense.

    Sorry about that!

    John 15
    11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

    12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved• you.

    13 Greater love• hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    14 Ye are my friends•, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

    15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends•; for all things that I have heard• of my Father I have madecknown unto you.

    16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name•, he may give it you.

    17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

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