Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This Is Your Work

The work of God is glorious. Joseph Smith famously told John Wentworth of the Chicago Democrat that "the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

It is natural for a believing heart to want to be a part of this great work. Without a doubt, all of us have opportunities to share the gospel, sometimes on a daily basis. Yet, at times, we may wonder why we aren't asked to take on what we see as a greater work-- to be something significant in our wards, branches, stakes, or districts-- with a call to be the ward mission leader or the relief society president or the bishop. Are we not faithful enough? Missionaries may similarly wonder why, despite their faithfulness, they are not called to be trainers, district leaders, zone leaders, etc.

In the earliest days of the Church, there was a great need for the faithful to bring about the work of the Restoration. Hyrum Smith, brother to the prophet Joseph, was among those yearning to participate. Though he was among the first to learn about and believe in the Restoration of the gospel, the early work of the Church was carried out in large part by other, newer converts: Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, Emma Hale Smith and the Whitmer family all appear to have more 'prestigious' or 'significant' roles in the work of God on earth.

To Hyrum Smith, the Lord said: "Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength." He was further admonished to study the scriptures, seek the Spirit and have good desires.

Hyrum Smith obeyed the Lord. His humble willingness to follow the Lord's counsel-- to participate in the Lord's work the Lord's way-- allowed him to build a testimony that was strong and sure. As troubled times came and even the friends and many early witnesses of the Restoration fell away for a time, Hyrum remained faithful to the very end. He died a martyr for the faith along with his brother Joseph in the Carthage jail.

Sometimes the Lord asks us to do things that seem significant; more often, he asks us to work salvation among ourselves and our families by keeping the commandments with all our hearts, might, mind and strength. This necessary work precedes our ability to effectively teach others; as with Hyrum, the Lord asks us to, "Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed."

We do not know what is ahead, but the Lord knows and is eager to prepare us for the struggles ahead. If we will put away our aspirations and humbly seek to do the Lord's work in the Lord's way, he will fortify us against the temptations and trials that will come. And then, when the time is right, our righteous desires to serve will be granted:

Seek the kingdom of God, and all things shall be added according to that which is just... Therefore, treasure up in your heart until the time which is in my wisdom that you shall go forth. Behold, I speak unto all who have good desires, and have thrust in their sickle to reap... As many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name (D&C 11:23, 26, 30).

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