Friday, March 11, 2016

Harold B. Lee on not postponing efforts to improve

President Harold B. Lee (1899-1973) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1941. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1970-1972, then as Church president from July 1972 until his passing less than 18 months later in December 1973.
"Today is the day for us to begin to search our souls. Have you discovered which is the most important of all the commandments to you today? ... Are you going to begin working on it today? Or are you going to wait until it is too late?
"The little boy says, 'Well, when I get to be a big boy, then I’m going to do so and so.' And what is that? When he gets to be a big boy, ... then he says, 'When I get married, then I’ll do so and so.' And then after he gets married, it all changes, and 'Well, when I retire.' And then after he is retired, a cold wind sweeps down over him and suddenly he realizes too late that he has lost everything. And it is too late. And yet all his life he has had all the time that there was. He just hasn’t taken advantage of it.
"Now, today, this is the day for us to begin to do something about it, before it is too late."
- Harold B. Lee, Address given to Ricks College student body and leaders, 3 March 1962, Historical Department Archives, 20–21; see Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee pp. 227-229

In a different setting, President Lee talked about the "most important of all the commandments of God" for each of us as being the one that we might be personally struggling with most today (see this quote). He begins with a similar idea in this excerpt, encouraging us to discover what the most important commandment is and then begin working on it.

The rest of the quote seems to expand the idea of not delaying, applying it not just to repentance and obedience, but other worthwhile aspects of our lives that might be postponed for one reason or another. What a great reminder. There are so many good things to do, so much that competes for our time and attention; but we should never put off dreams or good intentions until it becomes too late. We are meant to live our lives, with joy!

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