I started coming to this ward in April. I would like to thank you for making me feel welcome and accepted. The first day I walked into the chapel and sat down. I was alone feeling a little apprehensive about coming to a family ward as a single person and wondered how I would fit in and if I would feel accepted. One sister noticed me, left her little family and walked across the chapel to introduce herself. I know that that Sister was in-tune with the spirit and listened to a prompting to help a fellow ward member feel welcome. This simple act of kindness confirmed to me that this is where I need to be at this time of my life.
I was recently called to be a Mia maid adviser for the young women in the ward. I have been blessed in my life to associate with the young women in this ward. They are loving and kind; happy, bright, energetic girls who have been raised in good homes and I look forward to my continued service and friendship with each of them.
Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have shown us by their examples and teachings that work is important in heaven and on earth. God organized the creation of the heavens and the earth. He caused the seas to gather in one place and the dry land to appear. He caused grass, herbs, and trees to grow on the land. He created the sun, the moon, and the stars. He created every living thing in the sea or on the land. Then he placed Adam and Eve on the earth to take care of it and to govern the other creatures ( Genesis 1:1–28). Work has been the way of life on earth since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. The Lord said to Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Genesis 3:19). Adam and Eve worked in the fields so they could provide for their own needs and the needs of their children (Moses 5:1).
The Savior, Jesus Christ, is the perfect example for all things in our lives. His life was one of constant work for the Lord, through serving and teaching.
One of my favorite accounts from His life is found in the New Testament in Luke, Chapter 5, when Jesus Christ calls Simon Peter to be a fisher of men. The Savior approaches fishermen washing their nets, after a night of fruitless fishing. He enters the ship of Simon Peter. He teaches the people then he implores Simon in verse 4:
“Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught”. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord”.
For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
I love this story for many reasons: One, because even Peter, who was to become one of the twelve apostles of the Savior, felt inadequate to be in his presence. But the Lord does not always call people because they are the most prepared, or because they feel ready for a calling, he asks only for our willingness, our faith, and then qualifies us to do his work.
I also love this story because these simple fishermen “forsook all” to follow him. They gave up their livelihoods, their own interests, their time and ultimately their very lives, to follow Him. Building the kingdom of God became their work.
We are all asked to sacrifice in the gospel of Jesus Christ, through our church callings and through our tithes and offerings. Not only is personal sacrifice faith promoting it strengthens our resolve to forsake all in our own lives and follow him.
There is great reason that the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth was called in Isaiah 29:14 a marvelous work and a wonder. It is marvelous, and it requires a great deal of work from all of us.
I am amazed by our modern day apostles, and the Prophet of God on the earth today, Thomas S. Monson, who followed the command in their own lives to “let down their nets”, and follow the Savior.
One of the apostles, Elder Russell M. Nelson “let down his net” by giving up his profession as a heart surgeon to become as the Lord instructed, a “fisher of men”.
A time came in my own life where I dropped the net, that was my life, and accepted a call to serve in the England, Bristol Mission. It is difficult to articulate how those eighteen months in Great Brittan helped shape my life. I know that what I learned Spiritually strengthened my own resolve to be a disciple of the Savior. The work I did there, and the service I rendered to the people I met; the responsibility that I felt to serve, could not have been duplicated in any other setting. I am thankful for that opportunity I was given to participate in this great work.
Just as serving a mission entails a great deal of work, being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints involves work as well. Elder Russell M. Ballard, one of the living apostles of Jesus Christ stated in a conference talk in October of 2006:
The Lord in His infinite wisdom has designed His Church to operate with a lay ministry. That means we have been charged to watch over one another and to serve one another. We are to love one another as our Father in Heaven and the Lord Jesus Christ love us. Our callings and circumstances change from time to time, providing us with different and unique opportunities to serve and to grow.
Elder Ballard continued his address: we need to thoughtfully allocate our resources of time, income, and energy. I would like to let you in on a little secret. Some of you have already learned it. If you haven't, it's time you knew. No matter what your family needs are or your responsibilities in the Church, there is no such thing as "done." There will always be more we can do. There is always another family matter that needs attention, another lesson to prepare, another interview to conduct, another meeting to attend. We just need to be wise in protecting our health and in following the counsel that President Hinckley has given often to just do the best that we can.
Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve said “You work to sustain life; you don’t live to sustain work”. There is a fine balance between the many obligations we have to fulfill in our lives. They all involve our time and effort.
My Dad is a great example of how to effectively juggle a career, church responsibilities and a family. I believe he has been blessed for this. Raising 8 children requires not only a significant monetary commitment, but an enormous time commitment. We always had what we needed and still had time, money and energy to go play. I will credit my wonderful mom for her creativity. I know we, like most families, had tight financial times, but she always found ways for us to have fun together as a family.
Parents work together to provide for the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of their family. They should never expect anyone to take care of this responsibility for them. The Apostle Paul wrote, “If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith” (1 Timothy 5:8)
My Brother- in- Law recently became unemployed, My sister, who is a registered nurse went back to work full-time to provide for the family’s monetary needs, leaving her three small children and their home in the nearly capable hand of her husband.
For the first few days he thought that it was great!!! He enjoyed the lazy mornings, playing with the kids, staying home wasn’t bad at all. He couldn’t figure out what was so hard about it. Then the house, that was clean when he took over turned to chaos. The clean clothes that were plentiful began to run out. Every thing began to build up on him. He started to complain about not being able to keep up on the house work because the kids can destroy a room in a matter of minutes, the laundry piles up faster then he could wash it. He can’t get dinner cooked because his 1 yr old is all over the place and he has to keep his eye on him. And as good dads do, he play’s Barbie’s and ponies with his girls, but everyday with too many pink plastic girlie gizmos was pushing the limits of his sanity. What he has learned is that motherhood is a great deal more work than he had perceived. Every worthy aspect of our life requires work.
I called him the other day to see how things were going, He said he was frantically looking for a new job so he could get his wife back at home where she can do the work for their family that he was struggling to fulfill. He said “Emily, I have a greater respect for my wife and all stay-at-home moms because it’s hard work, going to work is easy compared to taking care of children and a home.”
Couples should seek inspiration from the Lord and follow the counsel of the prophets when establishing individual responsibilities. Creating a home where principles of the gospel are taught daily and where love and order abound is as important as providing the basic necessities of food and clothing.
Our attitude toward work and the people around us is very important.
Sometimes people encounter hardships when trying to provide for their families. Chronic illness, the loss of a spouse, or the addition of an elderly parent can add to the responsibilities in a home.
Our Heavenly Father remembers the families in these situations and gives them the strength to carry out their duties. He will always bless them if they ask him in faith. In February of 2004, my sweet Grandma had a devastating stroke. Her doctor recommended her to a care facility for the elderly. Our family could not bear the thought of it. Although everyone had jobs to go to and children to care for, everyone was willing to work the extra hours in their day so grandma could come home. Her final days on this earth were spent in her own comfortable home with those she loved. That experience has made my family stronger. We know when one of us is down, help will be there.
As far as they are able, all Church members should accept the responsibility to care for their relatives who are unable to provide for themselves. We should each find the proper balance between work, family responsibilities, church callings, rest, and relaxation. There is an old saying: “Doing nothing is the hardest work of all, because one can never stop to rest.” Without work, rest and relaxation have no meaning.
Not only is it pleasant and necessary to rest, but we are commanded to rest on the Sabbath day (Exodus 20:10; D&C 59:9–12). This day of rest after each six days of labor brings refreshment for the days that follow. The Lord also promises the “fullness of the earth” to those who observe the Sabbath day ( D&C 59:16–20; see also chapter 24, “The Sabbath Day”).
On other days of the week we should schedule some time when we can visit with family, friends, and relatives. We may spend time to improve our talents and enjoy our hobbies, recreation, or other activities that will refresh us. We can help one another in our work. The heaviest load becomes lighter when someone shares it.
Children should learn the importance of work at an early age. It is necessary for children to have work assignments to fit their abilities. They need to be praised for their successes. Good work attitudes, habits, and skills are learned through successful experiences in the home.
We are tools in the Master’s hands and if we all pull together we can complete the work we were sent here to do and build a better world for our Heavenly Father’s children. No matter how big or small we are, no matter how old or young, there is always something we can do. The work we are given to do is our responsibility.
Thank you Emily for this wonderful talk and for your willingness to share it on the blog.