Sunday, August 20, 2017

Elder Marvin J. Ashton on serving and growing in spite of obstacles

Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915-1994) served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1971 until his death in 1994 at age 78.
"We are all God’s children. If we love Him, we will feed His sheep wherever they may be found, without regard as to our own personal plight or situation. Often we can best feed others when we are hungry ourselves or not completely comfortable in the fold that we presently occupy. Very often those who are hungry, helpless, and cold can best be rescued by those who have been through the same exposures. Marking time or stalling should not be indulged in by the weak, weary, uncertain, and unrecognized. Instead, there is a healing power as we use our energy in action, in service, and in lifting others.
"It was Booker T. Washington who wisely stated, 'Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.' (The International Dictionary of Thoughts, comp. by John P. Bradley and others, Chicago: J. G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 1969, p. 698.) Victories in life come through our ability to work around and over the obstacles that cross our path. We grow stronger as we climb our own mountains....
"Let me share four basic contributing factors which might prevent our personal progress and church activity: (1) the constant nursing of personal hurts, (2) yielding to the sorrow of tragedy and grief, (3) being fettered with the habits and mistakes of misconduct, (4) letting fears inhibit progress."
- Marvin J. Ashton, "Roadblocks to Progress," General Conference, April 1979
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Ashton shared thoughts in this talk about some of the challenges we create for ourselves in life that prevent us both from progressing personally, and from serving others along the path. Often our own challenges seem to provide such obstacles that we feel unable or incapable of reaching out to others. But he points out that those times might actually be the best and most important for us to be serving!

It's clear that overcoming obstacles provides one of the best chances for us to grow:

Elder Ashton goes on to consider four of the reasons we find ourselves stalled and blocked. This was a very interesting discussion, and reviewing the full article is recommended as we consider our individual lives and opportunities to grow and to serve.

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

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