Nothing Worth Having Is Free
The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the homes we live in, the cars we drive–even the leisure time to enjoy them in — and all the inner satisfactions of life — all these must be bought with effort and sacrifice.
Let’s look at some examples. Take friendship. You may win friends easily but it will cost you something to keep them: time spent on daily kindly deeds, the thoughtful letter or card of remembrance; the timely word of encouragement; the constant consideration.
The price of education is study. Business success can be bought only through hard work; savings for the future through present self-denial.
So with the development of talents; the ability to play the piano, to paint a picture, to bake a cake, to excel in any art or skill comes only with effort.
Personal health and physical and mental strength must be earned by the exercise we take, the kind and amount of food and drink we put into our bodies — or abstain from.
The trust of friends is built on the keeping of promises. Financial credit belongs to those who pay their bills.
Even Church membership with its present and future blessings is not yours for the mere asking. To belonging you must add obedience; to receiving you must add sharing. These are the works you must add to faith if you would earn the good things of earth and the blessings of heaven. They are the price we must pay for happiness here or hereafter.
So strive, share, serve, save. In other words, pay up, because it pays.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
It’s Smart To Take Part
Belonging to the Church is important. It opens the way for us to work out our salvation, but it’s only the first step on the road to happiness on earth and eternal progress in heaven. The rest comes through obedience and performance every day of our lives.
This is one of the reasons the Church offers so many opportunities for daily participation. The degree to which we take part in these spiritual, intellectual, physical, social exercises will determine the degree to which we are eventually saved.
Let’s take some examples:
A boy or a girl takes part regularly in class instruction, and he learns, in the process, priceless truths. And “we are saved no faster than we gain knowledge.”
We join the Church-sponsored scout troop, a young people’s chorus, a singing quartet, or we “try out” for a part in a dramatic skit. That’s experience, progress.
We take our turn to speak on principles of the gospel in our young people’s improvement meetings or in Sunday worship services. Again, we’re taking part — going ahead.
We participate in Church league basketball, softball, volleyball — and in the process we build the physical body, practice teamwork, and learn the value of putting good sportsmanship into our play and work.
Going to “socials” in the attractive and wholesome atmosphere of our Church recreational halls helps us to develop our social graces and meet and associate with young men and young women of our own kind — the kind we’d like to have for our friends and, eventually, for our mates in marriage.
As we get older we become scout leaders, Sunday School teachers, and many of us go on preaching missions.
All this is “taking part.” It is the day-by-day way to happiness and eternal progression. It is part — an important life-long part — in living our religion for our own good and for the greater good of others.
So — young men, young women of the Church — don’t be satisfied with just belonging. Start today to take part because it’s smart. In other words —
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
I’ve got to say, of all the possible activities in which one can take part…
…square dancing looks like the most fun.
Honor Thy Father and Mother
The word “honor” is one of the richest in the language. It implies “esteem,” “reverence,” “respect,” “courtesy,” “integrity,” “purity,” “chastity” — and much more.
“To honor” also requires obedience — to obey and respect those we would honor.
The commandment “Honor thy father and thy mother” encompasses all of these and it promises much for obedience. Paul called it “the first commandment with a promise.” And what a promise, as we shall see!
But first there’s your part to be done, young men and young women of the Church.
Let’s begin with the little things. How long has it been, you teenaged daughter, since you took your mother in your arms and thanked her for life and the countless kind deeds she has performed for you since birth?
Or you, son, when did you last thank Dad for food, clothing, home, education, the use of his car, and wise counsel?
Do you, our sons and daughters, honor your parents in your choice of good companions, in your seen and unseen conduct, in church attendance, in the sharing of home work, in self-improvement, in keeping the faith?
These are the daily ways you can please and honor parents.
And what are the rewards for honoring them?
First, there’s joy and inward satisfaction for you. These blessings come automatically. Then there’s the Lord’s special promise that you will “love long on the earth” and that “it may go well with you.”
What a promise; what a prospect! To do less than to obey this commandment, to receive less in return, would be to deprive yourself of one of the richest experiences in life.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Notice the two gentlemen in the background who seem to be a little anxious about the amount of time all this “honor thy Father and Mother” stuff is taking.
Fresh Up With Sunday
All the world needs Sunday, a day for physical, mental, spiritual refreshment.
Our creator set the pattern and gave us this right-to-rest law — the law of the Sabbath. He worked six days, rested the seventh, and, the Good Book says, “He was refreshed.”
Refreshed; relieved of fatigue; restored in strength and spirit. How we need this blessing in our busy, modern world!
How to keep Sunday? Try this once-a-week prescription:
Start on Saturday night. Retire early so you will arise, on the Sabbath, refreshed. Give thanks as you awaken that you are alive for another day of glorious living.
Cleanse your body; dress in your go-to-meeting best; breakfast gratefully; and go to church.
While in church you will learn wisdom and faith with choice friends and neighbors.
At mealtimes add zest to your appetite and nourishment to your soul by keeping a prayerful heart. On Fast Days, rest your digestion, refresh your spirit, and give the savings to the needy.
Between meals and meetings, cultivate your mind with good reading and pleasant visiting at home or with friends.
For good health and stimulating outdoor enjoyment, walk more, ride less to church if you live nearby.
As a perfect nightcap, add an hour of good fellowship and faith with a friendly fireside group.
Time on your hands? No Sunday will be long enough for all the appropriate and refreshing things you’d like to do.
As you prepare to retire, give thanks again that your Father in Heaven gave you this precious gift — one day in seven – when man can rest and be refreshed.
Let’s keep the Sabbath — let’s keep it because He gave it to us — and because we need it!
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF.
I teach the 9-year-olds in Primary (Sunday School), and this week’s lesson was based on chapter seven in the book of Matthew:
Matthew 7: 24-27
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
At the end of the lesson, I wanted to illustrate that you can’t always rely on your own judgement in determining whether something is solid or not. And what better way to make that point than with non-Newtonian fluids?
So, in addition to the lesson manual and my scriptures, I packed up a pan, a large spoon, a measuring cup, and a Ziploc bag full of cornstarch, and headed to church.
The Primary lesson went quite well, and when it came time for our little object lesson, I sent two of the boys to the bathroom to fill the measuring cup with water. While they were gone, I showed everyone else the Ziploc bag with cornstarch. I explained that cornstarch was a very fine powder, similar to powdered sugar. (Food Science Fact: Most powdered sugar contains a small amount of cornstarch where it acts as an anti-clumping/anti-caking agent.)
A few of the kids asked if they could feel the cornstarch, but I knew that if I let them stick their fingers in the bag we’d end up with cornstarch everywhere, so I told them they could come up and feel the bag if they wanted to.
A few of the kids came up to the front and felt the cornstarch in the bag, but one of the little girls didn’t just feel the bag, she squeezed it. Hard. And…
The Ziploc bag, the opening of which was aimed straight at my face, exploded. It was like she’d pulled the pin on a cornstarch grenade. I waited for a few seconds for the dust to clear, but then I realized that the reason I couldn’t see anything was that the lenses of my glasses were covered with cornstarch. I took off my glasses (revealing a perfect outline of where they had been), looked down, and realized that there wasn’t an inch of me that wasn’t covered with cornstarch.
Just then, the two boys who had left to fill the measuring cup with water opened the door to the classroom. I turned, and the boys, being greeted by a large powdered ghost and the hysterical shrieks of a dozen laughing kids, nearly dropped the measuring cup and ran.
Chaos ensued. But by the end of class, we managed to get things cleaned up (somewhat) and we were able to recover enough cornstarch from my clothes for a slightly scaled-down version of the original experiment.
As a teacher, I sometimes wonder if the things that I say will be remembered. In most cases, probably not. But I have a feeling that, years from now, in a religion class at BYU, they’ll come to the seventh chapter of Matthew and some kid in the back will raise his hand and say…
“When I was nine, I had this crazy teacher who thought it would be a good idea to illustrate this point with non-Newtonian fluids…”
If that’s the case, the next time we get to this part of the New Testament, I may just pull out all the stops and do this:
Of course, that would work for Matthew 14, too…