Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Neverending Beginnings of Life

Imagine planning and working for months to land a particular dream job. It can be an exhausting process--learning about the company's needs, developing contacts with key people inside the company, tailoring your story to explain how you fit their needs, maybe even developing some additional skills to better qualify, then landing the interview, preparing, following up, waiting and praying for a response. Finally--yes!--you've got job. Years of academic or other preparation may have gone into that success.

Now, after all that preparation and effort, you've reached your dream and have just begin as a new employee. Whew! Time to celebrate, kick back, and enjoy the success you've achieved, right? What? Are you kidding? Of course not. I hope that every reader here knows that the beginning of a new job is an especially important time. This is the time lasting impressions will be made in the company. Decisions will be made about whether to keep you, advance you, or drop you like a toxic asset. If you're ever going to really exert yourself, this is the time to do it. The beginning of your job is the worst time to kick back and slack off (no time is good).

The end of the job search is the beginning of the real work. While that principle may be obvious when it comes to careers, it doesn't seem obvious to many people in many areas. So many times when we humans reach some big goal we've sought for a long time--getting married, getting a degree, getting promoted, winning some major award, whatever--we tend to relax, often missing real opportunities. Too often people focus on reaching some end that is only a beginning of some new phase in mortality. Mortality is an endless series of new beginnings, each of which requires our diligence, attention, and faithful exertions. Success in mortality is all about enduring to the end. "He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved" (Matt. 24:13).

In our life in the Gospel, there are many moments that are new beginnings. The emergence of the new convert from the waters of baptism, receiving a calling, going to the Temple and making temple covenants, a mission, marriage, parenthood, leadership responsibilities, etc. In each phase there is a need for fresh alertness and diligence, seeking the Lord's help, learning how we can minister to others and whom we must reach and how. Each phase may tempt us to think we have reached some great goal, when in reality, we have entered a new beginning on the path that leads us to the only goal that really matters, a goal outside this mortal realm where relationships are coupled with eternal glory and we finally know and see things as they really are. And that will be another glorious new but eternal phase where the real work and joy begins.

A few thoughts from the New Testament:
Hebrews 3:12-15
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

2 Peter 1: 4-10
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

3 comments:

K. Ray Johnson said...

Very good post. It amazes me how true this is (and how many people disagree with it). Heavenly father is good; we should be more like him. Sin is bad; we should not do it.

Ryan said...

You know, the converse (inverse?) can happen as well -- I know all kinds of people who are waiting for that big goal to decide that "now my life really starts," not realizing that they're missing opportunities to live all along the way.

For example, people look at me like I'm crazy, but I'll always be grateful we had children early on because they've been such a blessing and joy in our lives. Now if I can just graduate and get a real job, my life will really begin ;)

(Hi Ray!)

Scott and Jillian said...

I liked this post. It was some good food for thought.

And I had never noticed before that it mentioned calling & election in 2 Peter. Hmmm...very interesting.