Sunday, April 30, 2017

D&C 10:4-5 -- On Diligence without Self-Destruction

"Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end.
Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work."
Doctrine and Covenants 10:4-5

This is part of a conversation that God had with Joseph Smith in the aftermath of the loss of the 116 manuscript pages that Joseph Smith had translated.  God restores Joseph's gift to translate, explains why he can't retranslate what was lost, and they move on.

These verses right after his gift was restored stood out to me because I like the idea that God is telling Joseph not to wear himself out--which he likely was more than willing to do after this tragedy.  And I think that this is something that the Lord wants us to know as well.

I'm definitely not saying that God wants us to kick back and relax and blow off our responsibilities, because he does not.  And often in our lives we need to be spurred on to do *more* and not less.  However, there are times, especially when we are trying to make up for a mistake as Joseph was, when we try to do too much.  God gives us advice here about finding the balance.  We need to be diligent, which means we need to be working hard and moving forward, but we shouldn't harm our bodies or reach beyond our means--going into debt financially *or* emotionally or spiritually or otherwise--as we are working.  Bringing ourselves to the point of a breakdown or exhausting ourselves or breaking our bodies are not things that God asks of us.  He wants us to be happy and willing disciples, able to do many things on our own initiative and be creative in accomplishing his goals and building his kingdom, not broken down robot slaves, single-mindedly pursuing our prime directive until our gears rust out and we can no longer function.

The other thing I really like about this is that the Lord asks Joseph to pray.  Joseph is a prophet.  He already knows he needs to get instructions from God, and to listen to him, but this suggestion isn't about that.  God tells him to pray not so that Joseph will do what he wants, but so that God can help sustain Joseph.  Prayer can protect us, and help us, and recharge our batteries.  Prayer is *for* us, to help us feel our Father's love, and to help bolster our spirits, making us less susceptible to the intrigues and deceptions around us.

Today, let's be diligent but not detrimental to ourselves.  Endure to the end doesn't mean burn  yourself out as quickly as possible.  God wants us sane and happy.  Let's start learning this lesson, and make sure that retaining that functionality, happiness, and sanity is part of our plan.  Let's go to God in prayer when it isn't working, both to get support and help to recharge our spiritual batteries when we are low, and extra strength when needed in an emergency, but also to get his advice on knowing when to say no, and what limits we need to place on our efforts so that we can make good decisions for ourselves, help the people around us without removing their responsibility, and endure to the end happily. :)

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