Day 80: Did go to work

Ether 2:16

The brother of Jared sets a powerful example of diligence and obedience. The Jaredite group has spent several years living near the sea after being led out of Babel by God. When the Lord commands the brother of Jared to “Go to work and build” barges to travel to a promised land, the scriptures record his reaction: “And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work…and built barges…according to the instructions of the Lord” (Ether 2:16). I love the simplicity of this statement––it speaks volumes! There was no hemming and hawing, no equivocating, just going and doing, and following instructions.

I’ve spent a lot of time in my life thinking about working, thinking about what God has asked me to do, thinking about a school assignment or paper, mentally performing the work but feeling oh so reluctant to actually do it. I have definitely increased my stress level on more than one occasion with this type of procrastination. I have even scared myself out of a project because in my head it seems so much more difficult/onerous/time-intensive. One thing I have worked on in recent years is learning to just jump in, especially if it’s a church responsibility or personal revelation. It’s really easy to talk myself out of doing something good so I have tried to minimize the over-thinking and maximize the doing! I fall short of this goal often, but I do feel like I have made progress toward following the Spirit promptly and managing my stress level.

Like the brother of Jared, I can be more prompt and positive in my responses to God’s invitations.

 

Day 40: Do all things through Christ

Alma 17

This time I’ve really bitten off more than I can chew. We are mere weeks out from closing on our very first home and in the past five months, I have undertaken and added to a list of increasingly intricate furniture refinishing projects. Now I’m running faster than I have strength, trying to get everything done before it’s time to pack up a truck and go.

It’s like that sometimes in church callings, isn’t it? We feel like we are given more to do than we can possibly accomplish, that we just don’t have enough time, strength, sleep, hands, or love. And the work to do is so much more important than refinishing furniture––it’s helping people cleanse and refine their souls.

The sons of Mosiah understood a little something about taking on Herculean challenges. As they entered Lamanite territory at the outset of their mission, “they separated themselves and departed one from another” (Alma 17:13). Then the Book of Mormon provides a glimpse into the thoughts and feelings of the men: “they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken. And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them” (Alma 17:13-14, emphasis added). Not only did the sons of Mosiah decide to go preach the Gospel in foreign lands, but they chose to teach the mortal enemies of their people; and they decided to split up! They had their work cut out for them as Nephite believers trying to teach the Gospel to wild, hardened, ferocious people who delighted in murdering, robbing, and plundering Nephites. How could the sons of Mosiah possibly accomplish their goal “to bring [the Lamanites] unto repentance…[to] bring them to know of the plan of redemption” (Alma 17:16)?

When the assignment comes from God, there is always a way to accomplish it. The scriptures record that after splitting up, the sons of Mosiah “went forth among [the Lamanites], every man alone, according to the word and power of God which was given unto him” (Alma 17:17, emphasis added). Armed with the word and power of God and a promise from God to their father (Mosiah) that He would protect them, they began their assignment, “trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest” (Alma 17:13). They trusted that God would keep them alive and they had faith that He would help them accomplish the work of saving souls.

When the church assignments begin piling up and we feel like we’re running faster than we have strength, remember the example of the sons of Mosiah. Seek the power of God in your work, trust in Him to give you the added strength you need to accomplish the most important aspects of your calling, have faith that you will accomplish the most vital work. Repeat to yourself as often as necessary, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13, NT).