Saturday, June 24, 2017

President Spencer W. Kimball on accepting personal responsibility for progress

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"One of the most serious human defects in all ages is procrastination, an unwillingness to accept personal responsibilities now. Men came to earth consciously to obtain their schooling, their training and development, and to perfect themselves, but many have allowed themselves to be diverted and have become merely 'hewers of wood and drawers of water,' addicts to mental and spiritual indolence and to the pursuit of worldly pleasure.
"There are even many members of the Church who are lax and careless and who continually procrastinate. They live the gospel casually but not devoutly. They have complied with some requirements but are not valiant. They do no major crime but merely fail to do the things required—things like paying tithing, living the Word of Wisdom, having family prayers, fasting, attending meetings, serving. Perhaps they do not consider such omissions to be sins, yet these were the kinds of things of which the five foolish virgins of Jesus' parable were probably guilty. The ten virgins belonged to the kingdom and had every right to the blessings—except that five were not valiant and were not ready when the great day came. They were unprepared through not living all the commandments. They were bitterly disappointed at being shut out from the marriage—as likewise their modern counterparts will be.
"One Church member of my acquaintance said, as she drank her coffee: 'The Lord knows my heart is right and that I have good intentions, and that I will someday get the strength to quit.' But will one receive eternal life on the basis of his good intentions? Can one enter a country, receive a scholastic degree, and so on, on the strength of good intent unsupported by appropriate action? Samuel Johnson remarked that 'hell is paved with good intentions.' The Lord will not translate one's good hopes and desires and intentions into works. Each of us must do that for himself."
- Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 7-8

I always loved President Kimball's counsel; he could instruct and reprimand in a way that was frank and blunt but yet gentle and inviting. This is a good example. He points out the common defect of procrastination and laziness that is far too common in many of our lives. We are "addicts to mental and spiritual indolence" who are caught up instead in "the pursuit of worldly pleasure."

As a result, we often live the gospel "casually but not devoutly." That's an interesting statement. What is the difference between the two approaches? Do I see evidence of that in my life? Am I perhaps omitting some of the "weightier matters" of the law?

Yes, our "good intentions" are far too common. We know we'll get around to things eventually. We just never seem to quite do it, though... and so our lives fall short of what they could be. We would be wise to consider President Kimball's counsel carefully as we do an honest and thorough evaluation of our lives, progress, priorities, and level of commitment!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15