Many years ago I was flying from London Heathrow to San Francisco. I arrived late at the airport and was very worried I wasn't going to get a seat especially since they said the plane was full. Eventually the lady behind the desk said, "I'm so sorry, but we're going to have to put you in a seat in first class. Is this ok with you?" Of course I said "YES!" During the next 11 hours I got to experience all the amazing perks of being in first class without having paid for it.
On international flights, as many of you probably know, there are three categories of seats: economy class, business class, and first class. The section with the largest number of seats is the economy class, while the fewest number of seats is in the first class. Of course, economy class is the cheapest, while first class is the most expensive. The more you pay, the more leg room, faster service, and at times better meals you receive. So as the cost increases, the better the perks and the closer one is to the pilot.
In life most people are satisfied with where they are sitting in relation to the pilot (Jesus). Too often we consider ourselves already receiving all the blessings God has to offer, while sitting in economy class. For example, previously I had no idea all the things the airline would offered those sitting in first class. Similarly, often we do not realize that we are missing out (and will miss out) on great blessings the Lord has in store for us because we do not know it even exists or how to obtain it. Furthermore, there are many who would like to receive the perks of sitting in first class, but they are not willing to pay the price to be there.
As we draw closer to the Savior, the cost incurred always increases (unlike my lucky experience flying to San Francisco). God will ask harder and harder sacrifices of us as we come closer to Him. He will ask us to be obedient to increasingly difficult commandments that require a lot of faith. But, the cost is always insignificant when compared to the incredible blessings God gives us as a result (unlike being on a plane in first class, where I don't think it is worth the cost).
As I consider my journey in seeking to be closer to Jesus, the costs are certainly more as I have progressed. But, what has been interesting is that my faith has grown along with the sacrifices and so the price required is not beyond what I am able to pay. Faith and sacrifice are directly related to one another.
You may be thinking, as I previously did, that it really doesn't matter how much or how little I am willing to sacrifice for the Lord in order to obtain the blessings He offers. But, it really does matter. If eternal life is based on knowing Jesus (John 17:3), how can we expect to know Him while sitting in economy class?
Joseph Smith said,
It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him. (Lectures on Faith 6:8)The blessings God has in store for us are based on what we are willing to sacrifice for Him. If we want to obtain the blessings of Abraham, for example, we have to sacrifice as Abraham sacrificed (and that does not mean putting your child on the altar--rather being willing to give up all for God and obediently doing whatever He asks, not matter the cost).
Most of us are not yet willing to give up everything for the Lord. (For more on the topic of sacrifice, see this post I previously wrote.) This is why we have not yet obtained the blessings for doing so. The path to that point begins incrementally as we ask the Lord what His will is for us. Invariably, He will require some sacrifice of us, whether it is something pertaining to this telestial world or our favorite sins. Then, as we obey God, our faith increases and we are able to sacrifice more.
Ask God to help you get to the point where you are willing to sacrifice all for Him. Jesus is the best teacher! He will guide you and lead you along. He will give you just the right experiences to help you. At times the experiences are painful, but His comfort is always there as we turn to Him. There is no other way to sit in a first class seat, close to the pilot.