Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Elder Marvin J. Ashton on being fully committed to the gospel

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.
"I’m thinking of a five-year-old boy who fell out of bed during the night and came crying to his mother’s bedside. To her question, 'Why did you fall out of bed?' he replied, 'I fell out because I wasn’t in far enough!'
"It has been my experience over the years that, generally speaking, those who fall out of the Church are those who aren’t in far enough.
"In a simple statement, the difference between those committed and those who are not is the difference between the words want and will. For example, 'I want to pay tithing, but our funds are so limited,' or 'I will pay my tithing.' 'I want to go to sacrament meeting if I have time,' or 'I will go to sacrament meeting.' 'I would like to be a good teacher, but the children are so noisy,' or 'I will be a good teacher.'
"To reap the full benefits of life, we must fill our days with commitment to worthy goals and principles. There is no other way. As these commitments lead us to action, we will find added growth and dimension which will guide us toward a productive life here on earth and open the door for eternal life with our Father in Heaven."
- Marvin J. Ashton, "The Word is Commitment," General Conference October 1983
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Ashton's analogy of the boy falling out of bed is interesting—they boy said he fell because he wasn't in far enough, and Elder Ashton applies that to people who "drop out" of participation in the Church. What does it mean to be "in far enough"? Perhaps to be more thoroughly involved, more deeply committed, more deeply converted. As our membership in the Church becomes a more significant and meaningful part of our life, we'll understand the analogy better.

Elder Ashton continues by suggesting a characteristic of a member who is "in far enough"—the level of commitment that is demonstrated by our attitude towards assignments or obligations, as expressed in the words want and will. Do we just desire to do good things, or are we committed to make them happen?

Blessings come to us when we "fill our days with commitment to worthy goals and principles" that will then lead us to action and growth.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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