Everyone is looking for a quick and easy way to make a few bucks. If you believe the internet you can be making thousands of dollars week while sitting at home eating nachos, but in the real world money is a bit more difficult to come by. A while back someone gave me $150 for free. Before you get too excited, it looked like this:
This is what happens to money after it has been around to long. It becomes worn and damaged and so the government shreds it. Whenever I show this bag of money to kids they start to think of ways to glue it all back together so that they can spend it. But it doesn’t work that way. Each piece is a real piece of a bill, but there is no way to put it all back together. So does that mean that the pieces are worthless? No.
Because they are from a real bill, the pieces can be used to identify a true bill. Imagine it this way. What if you had never seen a $100 dollar bill before. You knew it was very valuable, but you had no idea what it looked like. But you had a piece of a $100 bill. It’s small, but you know it is genuine.
Now imagine that someone comes along with a piece of paper and says, “This is a $100 bill.” Should you spend your time working to earn that piece of paper? Well, you should probably find out if it’s real first. So you compare it to the piece that you have in your possession. Is it made of the same paper? Is the ink the same? Can you match up any words or images? If not, the bill must not be genuine and you shouldn’t waste your time striving to obtain it.
Now let’s imagine that someone else comes along and offers you what they claim is a genuine $100 bill. They are willing to share it with you, but you’ll have to work and sacrifice in order to obtain it. It doesn’t look the way you thought it would, but the paper matches the piece you have and so does the ink. In fact you can see the exact spot that your fragment aligns with the $100 bill. Now that you can see that it is genuine, you now it is worth sacrificing in order to obtain it. You are not asked to give up the fragment you have, but instead are offered a way to have the entire $100 bill.
This is like the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel was on the earth in its fullness, but after the death of the apostles the earth fell into apostacy and the fullness was taken away. But there were still bits of “doctrinal debris” (to paraphrase Elder Neal A. Maxwell) – little pieces of truth.
People have bits and pieces of the gospel. Maybe one person knows deep in their heart that infant baptism is wrong or that the true church must have apostles and prophets. If we are content with only the small piece of truth we have, then we will never have a fullness. But if we are searching for the true gospel of Jesus Christ, we will use the small bits of truth to identify the true church. When the gospel is shared with us, we will carefully examine it and make sure that it matches with the small bits of truth we already have. We will realize that we are not asked to give up the truth we have, but are invited to obtain the whole truth. It’s not easy, we will have to work and strive and sacrifice, but I know it is worth the effort.