Friday, February 23, 2018

President James E. Faust on working to achieve our potential

President James E. Faust (1920-2007) was called as a Seventy in 1976, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve in 1978. He served as a counselor to President Hinckley from 1995 until his death in 2007 at age 87.
"Be industrious. To be industrious involves energetically managing our circumstances to our advantage. It also means to be enterprising and to take advantage of opportunities. Industry requires resourcefulness. A good idea can be worth years of struggle.
"A friend who owned some fertile fields complained to his sister about his lack of means. 'What about your crops?' asked the sister. The impoverished man replied, 'There was so little snow in the mountains, I thought there would be a drought, so I did not plant.' As it turned out, unforeseen spring rains made the crops bountiful for those industrious enough to plant. It is a denial of the divinity within us to doubt our potential and our possibilities.
"The great poet Virgil said, 'They conquer who believe they can.' Alma testified, speaking of a just God, 'I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire.' (Alma 29:4.)
"To be industrious involves work. It involves creativity. It also involves rest. It includes both aspects of Sabbath day observance. On the one hand, we are to labor six days. On the other hand, we are to rest one day. This rest will leave us with more energy and resources to make the rest of the week more productive and fruitful."
- James E. Faust, "The Responsibility for Welfare Rests with Me and My Family," General Conference, April 1986
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This conference address by President Faust reviewed some of the foundational principles of the welfare program, and described early thinking of what has now become the self-reliance services program of the Church. He gives details on five primary suggestions:
  • Practice thrift and frugality
  • Seek to be independent
  • Be industrious
  • Become self-reliant
  • Strive to have a year's supply of food and clothing

It's interesting to review these thoughts and see how they compare to our programs today, more than 30 years later.

The excerpt above comes from the third section of his recommendations, on being industrious. I appreciated the reminders of working hard and being creative, but also trusting in God in the process. I thought this was a profound statement:

The co-dependent values of work, creativity, and rest come together to make for greater productivity and achievement. Wise counsel for us all to reconsider!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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