What the law taught this General Authority about making covenants with the Lord

Elder Randy D. Funk learned a legal principle in his first semester of law school that helped him better understand how actions affect one’s ability to receive blessings from Heavenly Father.

Elder Funk worked as an attorney and partner in the law firm Sherman & Howard in Denver, Colorado, prior to his call to full-time Church service as a General Authority Seventy.

“To form a binding contract under the laws of man, there must be an offer and an acceptance,” he explained in a BYU–Idaho devotional broadcast on Sept. 22. “For some agreements, such as a contract to purchase real estate, the law requires that the offer and the acceptance be in writing. … But for some agreements, the acceptance of an offer is made simply by performance. This is known as unilateral acceptance.”

Elder Randy D. Funk speaks during a BYU–Idaho devotional that was broadcast on Sept. 22, 2020.
Elder Randy D. Funk speaks during a BYU–Idaho devotional that was broadcast on Sept. 22, 2020. Credit: Screenshot

Covenants with Heavenly Father work in a similar manner. “There is not a negotiation followed by a signed acceptance,” Elder Funk explained. “Instead, by our affirmative expressions and by acting in accordance with His will, including by receiving essential ordinances, we indicate our desire and willingness to make covenants with Him. As we then keep our covenants with Him by what we do, we qualify for the abundant blessings He has promised.”

The ordinance of the sacrament invites remembrance of the Savior and covenants, Elder Funk told listeners. He quoted President Dallin H. Oaks, who taught that because the sacrament “is broken and torn, each piece of bread is unique, just as the individuals who partake of it are unique. We all have different sins to repent of. We all have different needs to be strengthened through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, whom we remember in this ordinance.” 

Elder Funk illustrated this idea using 3 Nephi 18:10, 12, and 14. “In each of these verses, the Savior says to those who partake of the sacrament, ‘blessed are ye,’ but He does not specify what the blessing will be,” he observed. “Perhaps because each of us who participate in this sacred ordinance are as different as the shape of each piece of bread, we each need different blessings.”

An important distinction between the laws of God and the laws of man is the role of love and mercy in God’s plan of redemption for His children, the Church leader said. “In some cases, as loving parents do, Heavenly Father mercifully considers the desire of our hearts as well as our works.”

Elder Randy D. Funk and his wife, Sister Andrea C. Funk, speak during a BYU–Idaho devotional that was broadcast on Sept. 22, 2020.
Elder Randy D. Funk and his wife, Sister Andrea C. Funk, speak during a BYU–Idaho devotional that was broadcast on Sept. 22, 2020. Credit: Screenshot

Heavenly Father requires a willing heart and effort, Elder Funk said. “Like the generous, merciful parent He is, He gives us much — far beyond anything we merit. Thus, exaltation is not earned, but it must be chosen, accepted and gratefully received.”

Elder Funk told listeners that the blessings of the gospel are readily available to those who choose to accept them. “As we trust God, and act in faith to make and keep sacred covenants with Him, how great will be our joy now and throughout eternity.”

Sister Andrea C. Funk, Elder Funk’s wife, taught about the importance of moving forward with action following inspiration.

“We need to both hear and then do,” she said. 

She used the stories of Joseph Smith and Nephi to illustrate the principle of action following revelation, as well as examples from the life of her mother.

As a young German woman living in Vienna, Austria, at the end of World War II, Sister Funk’s mother prayed to know if the church was true.  

“In answer to her sincere prayer, she recorded: ‘Suddenly a wonderful feeling came over me. I felt like light was surrounding me … It was a marvelous feeling, hard to describe. At that very moment I knew the Church was true and I knew I wanted to be baptized. The Holy Ghost had testified the truth unto me. I will be eternally grateful for this blessing!’” Sister Funk said of her mother’s experience. “She acted and was baptized.” 

Sister Andrea C. Funk speaks during a BYU–Idaho devotional that was broadcast on Sept. 22, 2020.
Sister Andrea C. Funk speaks during a BYU–Idaho devotional that was broadcast on Sept. 22, 2020. Credit: Screenshot

Later, Sister Funk’s mother acted on an impression to share the gospel with a fellow student, even though he was a stranger. As a result, the young man was later baptized. 

“My life has been forever blessed because of my mother’s faith and willingness to act on the inspiration she received throughout her life,” Sister Funk said.

Watch the full devotional at byui.edu/devotionals.