Tuesday, September 22, 2015

No Neutral Works

Hello Everyone, hope your week is going well.  The weather here is starting to cool off from the 90's to the 70's which is a pleasant change.  But this week I'd like to talk about something most of us are familiar with: Work.

We all know that there is no substitute for good, hard, work.  There's a well known quote, no clue who it's by I don't remember that stuff anymore, that roughly says that hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard.  We can be as talented and gifted as if we fell straight from heaven, but if we don't work hard, we'll lose those talents and others will pass us by on their road to success.  

But today I'd like to talk about good works.  And I'm not going to compare good works and bad works, because the words good and bad already paint an image that is easy to compare.  I'd rather make a more fun comparison: good works and neutral works.  
Alma 5:35 reads:

"Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire"

 We are asked as members of the church and as believers in Christ to bring forth good works; to bring forth good fruit.  We're not told to bring mediocre works or C-Grade works.  We're told to bring good works, plain and simple.  Sometimes the Devil leads men the easiest  as he just gets them, not to do bad things, but do just not do the good things.  Instead of holding Family Home Evening a Father could take on extra hours at work to provide more for his family.  A youth could forgo attendance at Seminary so that they can attend study courses before school.  In these situations the latter options aren't bad, they just aren't the best.  

I'll remind you briefly of Dallin H. Oaks' talk in the October 2007 General Conference titled "Good, Better, Best".  He reminds us that sometimes we need to give up the good for the best.  There are many good ways to spend our time, but we only have so much on this earth.  And are the things we're doing now of greatest worth?  Because "time only is measured unto men" we have an obvious need to learn how to prioritize well, else we will reach the end of our lives and find we've missed out on many a good opportunity and we have squandered our potential (Alma 40:8).  

Time management is hard, trust me.  It was one of the toughest lessons I've learned on my mission. But as I've worked hard and refined my use of my time, I've found that I rarely let my head hit the pillow at the end of the day, wishing I had done more.  I know that if we learn to prioritize on bringing good works, rather than neutral works, we will reach the end of our life and just before we enter into our eternal rest, we'll be at peace knowing that we have been good stewards over our time here on Earth.  

I hope that you all have a great week!  I can't wait to write again.  

Monday, September 14, 2015

On My Honor

Hello Everyone!

This week I was waiting for church to start as we had to be there early for a meeting, but were only required to sit in for the first 10 minutes or so.  We went and sat in our usual spot and I grabbed a bible to read for a short while before people began trickling into church.  While perusing the different books I decided upon reading in the book of Ecclesiastes.  

I read the first few chapters and quickly noted that The Preacher was a huge fan of the word vanity, but despised it's connotations.  Looking past the fact that everything is vanity I began reading in the 5th chapter and not too far in I found myself pausing at the 5th verse, which reads:

"Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay."

What a wonderful tidbit of information.  This short verse packs a similar punch to a parable told by the Savior during his Earthly ministry:

"A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.  Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first."
(Matthew 21:28-31)

Here we have two scriptural accounts, one posed by The Preacher, and one from The Savior.  They both serve to highlight the importance of keeping commitments and being true to your word.  Imagine how idealistic our society would be if everyone were perfectly honest and true to their word.  Nobody would ever bother to lock their doors, nobody would ever be cheated out of a job opportunity, and nobody would have to worry about things not being finished when they are needed.  And if we were perfectly honest and true to our commitments, then we would have no issues keeping the covenants we made at the time of baptism.  

This is where honesty and integrity truly show their worth: when we put them in the context of the eternities.  When we are baptized, we covenant with our Heavenly Father to keep his commandments and live his standards.  We are promising to do what he asks so that he can bless us with happiness and lasting peace.  But unfortunately we are not perfectly honest and true at all times.  But making honesty a habit will aid incredibly in preventing sin, and will make repentance all the easier for us when we do sin and fall short.  We should seek to be true in all of our dealings, encounters, and experiences.  This habit of being honest leaves your shoulders unburdened by the load of lie and deceit.  Seek to be like Nathaniel, a true man "in whom is no guile!" (John 1:47)

To close this post I would like to share a quote from an address at BYU from President Spencer W. Kimball:

"Keep your promises, my young people. Maintain your integrity. Abide by your covenants. Give the Lord, this year and every year, your high fidelity and fullest expression of faith. Do it “on your honor,” and you will be blessed now and forever." (On My Honor, Sept 12, 1978)

I hope that you all have a great week!

Elder Gailey