On February 11th, 1861, newly elected President Abraham Lincoln delivered a farewell speech to his home state in Springfield, Illinois, as he left for Washington D.C.:
“I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. (America’s God & Country, William J. Federer).
While I am not “going to Washington” to be president of the United States, I do feel as Lincoln did, that all things are possible with the assistance of the Lord, and that true success cannot be achieved without divine help. Recently we have gone through an election cycle. Many laws of the lands in which we live have changed. Some of us might be happy with them, some of us might not be! Life is full of changes. A few years ago in General Conference Henry B.Eyring spoke of changes that come into our lives. He said:
“Now, tonight let us decide together what we are going to do. All of us, whatever our callings may be, face tasks that are beyond our own powers. I do and you do. That’s true from the simple fact that success is to get testimony down into the hearts of people. We can’t make that happen. Even God won’t force that on anyone.
So success requires people we serve to choose to accept the testimony of the Spirit into their hearts. The Spirit is ready. But many people aren’t ready to invite the Spirit. Our task, which is in our power, is to invite the Spirit into our lives so that people we serve will want to have the fruits of the Spirit in their lives—the fruits that they can see in ours.”(GC, Oct 2007).
So, as President Erying said, our task “is to invite the Spirit into our lives, so that the people we serve will want to have the fruits of the Spirit in their lives.” They will be more apt to partake of the fruit of the gospel, if they see that our lives are good. No matter where we are, we always have the opportunity to spread the fruits of the gospel to all that come under our influence. Many years ago I was upset with the direction that the leaders of our country were leading us. I came to the determination that the best thing I could do as a citizen to combat that was to live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Chris. In so doing my light could shine out to all those I came into contact with be it at church or in the community. I have not always lived up to that lofty goal but I am improving.
There seems to be so much contention in our civic and religious communities. While casting ballots on measures and officers is an important part of our country’s history, sadly name calling and demonizing those who hold different opinions is also one that has taken root. I know that little is accomplished when we stoop to such talk because when I have heard others demonize or name call my religion, or political positions I hold dear, I am offended. It doesn’t make me want to join them. I don’t think it behooves followers of Jesus Christ to lower standards to fit the times.
May we be willing to work together in bringing about good through our righteous speech and actions. Let us be firm in our righteous endeavors, without being offensive in our speech or action. Agency is a wonderful gift that has been given to us. May we exercise it appropriately in our religious and civic lives out of respect for others, and for ourselves. Have faith in the Lord. All things are possible with the Lord and through His spirit lives can truly be changed for the better!