- Written by Elder F. David Stanley
Young men, are you spending too much time desiring what you want to be instead of establishing a course of discipline and working hard on what you are going to be? Sitting in a home one night with two of our missionaries, the challenge was issued to a young investigator to begin reading the Book of Mormon. His answer overwhelmed us as he sat in his recliner sipping from a twelve-ounce container from the corner convenience store. He said, "It’s too hard."
Someone once said, "Thou, O God, [doth give us] all good things at the price of labor." (David Hume, Human News; as cited in The Macmillan Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Famous Phrases, sel. Burton Stevenson, New York: The Macmillan Co., 1948], p. 1331.)
This young man had felt the Spirit; but, alas, the seed was sown on stony ground, and he was not willing to work hard and pay the price to gain his individual testimony. We feared that evening that he may have made a decision that could jeopardize his eternal life by the statement, "It’s too hard."
Among the saddest events for all mission presidents to observe elders and sisters coming into the mission field not having learned how to work. President Ezra Taft Benson gave us a powerful key in one of his addresses on missionary work: "One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for [he will have] all [his] time and talents and interest ... centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988, p. 200.)
There you have it, fathers and trainers of future missionaries. There you have it, my young friends who are now preparing for your missions and you who are currently serving. If you want to be successful, start with the bottom line of work. Recently we noticed a surge in baptisms in one of our missions. The mission president was asked the reason for the surge. He said, "Baptisms come from hard work. We must work smarter and much harder."
The prophet Alma said it very well while glorying in the success of Ammon and his brethren. He said, "Behold, they have labored exceedingly." (Alma 29:15.)
That is a pure definition of work.
Just over eight months ago, a monstrous hurricane swept into Florida. Jack Demaree of the Montgomery Alabama Stake and many like him drove over two thousand miles round trip, using their vacation time to assist the hurricane victims. He brought back an article from a Florida newspaper: "In hot, humid conditions Saturday, about 12,000 volunteers—including 9,000 Mormon church members from six states who brought chain saws, plywood and tar paper—swarmed into South Florida. ... So many people [were] at work that only two hundred showed up Saturday morning for an outdoor prayer service ... despite the ... prediction that more than 5,000 would attend." (Ocala, Florida, Sunday newspaper, 6 Sept. 1992.)