Wednesday, February 5, 2014

May Christ Lift Thee Up Part Three

Which brings us to the next implication: 
We will view our daily, temporal tasks and 
duties differently—as offerings, not as repetitive or meaningless drudgery. 
It seems that every task I do—be it visiting teaching, carpooling, solving problems in the workplace, 
changing diapers, writing memos, making arrangements on the telephone—becomes 
ennobled if I do them in the spirit of an offering to God. Throughout the ages, mankind has 
been confused about what giving one's life to God really means—what it looks like. Some 
have thought it means renouncing physical comfort—wearing scratchy clothes and sleeping 
on hard floors. Others have thought it means drawing away from earning a living or handling the things of the world, retreating from people and entangling relationships—
particularly intimate family ones that require so much thought and care. 

One of the startling and happy truths of the Restoration is the truth about the 
relationship between the temporal and the spiritual. President Brigham Young, again: "If I 
am in the line of my duty, I am doing the will of God, whether I am preaching; praying, 
laboring with my hands for an honorable support; whether I am in the field, mechanic's 
shop, or following mercantile business, or wherever duty calls, I am serving God as much in 
one place as another . . . In the mind of God there is no such a thing as dividing spiritual 
from temporal . . . for they are one in the Lord" (Brigham Young, 22). 
Something about our mortal life says that we cannot just give our lives to God in our 
hearts and then withdraw from daily living. Our temporal tasks become an expression of and 
a builder of our commitment to him. 

Elder Henry B. Eyring illustrates this point with a story about his father, also named 
Henry Eyring. I will use Elder Eyring's words, because they carry the heart and meaning so 
beautifully: 
"[My father] once told me this story with the intention of chuckling at himself . . . To 
appreciate this story, you have to realize that it occurred when he was nearly eighty and had 
bone cancer. He had bone cancer so badly in his hips that he could hardly move. The pain 
was great. 
"An assignment was given to weed a field of onions, so Dad [as the high councilor in 
charge of the stake farm] assigned himself [as well as others] to go work on the farm" (To 
Draw Closer to God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997], 101–2). 
When others who were with Brother Eyring that day told his son about it, they said 
that his father's pain was terrible. Brother Eyring couldn't kneel because of his hips and went 
painstakingly up and down the rows, pulling himself along on his stomach—smiling, 
laughing, and talking as they all worked together in the field of onions. Quoting Elder Eyring again: "Now this is the joke Dad told me on himself afterward. 
He said . . . after all the work was finished and the onions were all weeded, someone said to 
him, ‘Henry, good heavens! You didn't pull those weeds, did you? Those weeds were 
sprayed two days ago, and they were going to die anyway.' 
"Dad just roared. He thought that was the funniest thing . . . He had worked through 
the day in the wrong weeds. They had been sprayed and would have died anyway. 
"I asked him, ‘Dad, how could you make a joke out of that? How could you take it 
so pleasantly?' He said something to me that I will never forget . . . He said, ‘Hal, I wasn't 
there for the weeds.'" 

And then Elder Eyring turns to us and speaks: "Now, you'll be in an onion patch much of your life. So will I. It will be hard to see the powers of heaven magnifying us or our 
efforts. It may even be hard to see our work being of any value at all. And sometimes our 
work won't go well. 
"But you didn't come for the weeds. You came for the Savior" (To Draw Closer to 
God, 101–2). 

Do you hear our simple key? "Joyfully, voluntarily, quietly . . ." 

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