Wednesday, September 5, 2018

President James E. Faust on the blessings of fundamentals

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.
"The work of the Church depends upon basics such as paying tithes; taking care of family and priesthood duties; caring for the poor and the needy; having daily prayer, scripture study, and family home evening; home teaching; participation in quorum activity; and attending the temple. If called upon by the President of the Church, we would be ready, able, and willing to do 'some great thing,' such as working on the Nauvoo temple, but many are not quite so anxious to do some of these basics. 
"We are all familiar with the Old Testament story of Naaman, the captain of the Syrian hosts, who was a leper. A little Israelite servant told Naaman’s wife that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal him. Naaman came with his chariot and horses to the house of Elisha, who sent a messenger to instruct Naaman, 'Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.' (2 Kings 5:10.)

"You younger boys know how it is when you show your hands to your mother: she’ll tell you to go and wash! But Naaman was not a young boy. He was the captain of the Syrian hosts, and he was offended by Elisha’s instruction to wash in the Jordan. So he 'went away in a rage.' (2 Kings 5:12.) One of Naaman’s servants with a wise head remonstrated with him and said: 'If the prophet had bid thee [to] do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?' (2 Kings 5:13.) Naaman then repented and followed the counsel of the prophet. The leprosy disappeared, and 'his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.' (2 Kings 5:14.) 'Some great thing' in this instance was extraordinarily simple and easy to do....
"In the parable of talents, the one who had increased his talents was told, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.' (Matt. 25:23.) May we all be faithful in doing the day-to-day, ordinary things that prove our worthiness, for they will lead us to and qualify us for great things."
- James E. Faust, "Some Great Thing," General Conference October 2001
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The Old Testament story of Captain Naaman shares such a great and timeless message. We get a little caught up in our pride and self-importance at times, expecting for the chance to be involved in "some great thing" to demonstrate our abilities or prove our faithfulness. But much more frequently, it's the basic tasks of life that bring both growth and happiness.

The basic things in life really are, usually, "extraordinarily simple and easy to do" if we commit to doing them faithfully and regularly. But President Faust testifies that those are exactly the things that will "lead us to and qualify us for great things." How important it is that we each regularly evaluate our performance in the fundamental, essential tasks of life and of the Gospel!

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

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