Sunday, January 25, 2009

O Ye That Embark

This entry is part of my general conference application series.
Priesthood Session

O Ye That Embark, by President Henry B. Eyring
First Counselor in the First Presidency

We are familiar with what it means to live paycheck to paycheck. As a student, I have some experience with this, but even more so, I catch myself living project to project, paper to paper, or exam to exam.

What does this mean? I start out thinking "I'll devote my time to this task for now, and after I'm done, then I can relax," only to find another task waiting just over the horizon. The end result of this mentality is that I continue to put off recreation or family activities thinking that I'll have time for them later, only to find that they've slip away. This reminds of President Monson's oft-quoted line from The Music Man, "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays."

As a new graduate student, my advisor said something in passing that changed my life. He was reminiscing on his student days, describing a lifestyle similar to above, when he said that he decided to change—to actually enjoy his family and take time away from tasks (occasionally). Following this pattern, I decided that there is more to life than classes, research, and grades. It turns out that there is a lot more!

I was reminded of all of this when President Eyring discussed men at various stages believing that priesthood service would become easier when they were older. Apparently this is not the case, as President Eyring reminded, "the more faithful service you give, the more the Lord asks of you." Not wanting us to be discouraged, he assured, though, that "[Christ] increases our power to carry the heavier load." But there is a catch:

The tough part of that reality, however, is that for Him to give you that increased power you must go in service and faith to your outer limits.

I'm reminded of President Packers address, The Candle of the Lord, where he taught:

Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that “leap of faith,” as the philosophers call it. It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and stepped into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two.

The truth that we are given increased strength is found in the scriptures, in the story of Alma under the dominion of Amulon (see Mosiah 24:14). We are not surprised that there is a price; we must qualify for the blessing, as have countless before us.

I hope that I can have the courage to "go in service and faith to [my] outer limits." I'm sure that as I do, I will find the increased power to carry heavy loads, as President Eyring taught. In addition, President Packer's words remind, "As you give that which you have, there is a replacement, with increase!"

Preceding—and along with—this growth, we may feel overwhelmed. President Eyring givesthe solution: "When those feelings of inadequacy strike us, it is the time to remember the Savior. He assures us that we don’t do this work alone."

While much is required of us, much is likewise given (recall D&C 82:3).

2 thoughts

Paul said...

"The more faithful service you give, the more the Lord asks of you."

"[Christ] increases our power to carry the heavier load."

"The tough part is that for Him to give you that increased power you must go in service and faith to your outer limits."

Do you find these sorts of generalizations, in which life as we know it is essentially portrayed as consistently fair, true to your life's experience?

Another one, similar to yours that's often said is "God never gives us more than we can handle."

I can always think of plenty of real life exceptions to such statements. So many that it seems to me that life as we know it - life as humans have made of it - is more often than not unfair, especially when we include for consideration the many people around the world born into impoverished and war-torn countries.

Clark Siler said...

Great question!

Part of the beauty of the selected quotes is that they don't assert that life is fair (whatever "fair" actually means). I imagine most people would agree that life is, indeed, NOT fair. Nevertheless, God's plan is.

In what ways is this plan fair?

As Elder Cook reminds in this conference, "We are all subject to the conflict between good and evil and the contrast between light and dark, hope and despair." But some seem to have more evil, dark, and despair around them. Nevertheless, the Lord makes it possible for all people to be cleansed from both sin and suffering.

Returning to the quoted passages, regardless of our life circumstances, as we turn to God and put our trust in Him, we not only find peace amidst adversity, but our strength is increased, enabling us to serve where He wants us to serve.

God's plan is fair because His light, His love, all that He has is available to all--it's just up to us to decide to follow him (see Matt. 4:19, 19:21; John 10:27, 12:26).

Isn't that beautiful?