I have a policyholder who has been coming into my office for over twenty-five years. He is a nice guy who has a habit of talking down life. Every time I see him I ask him how things are going. The other day he replied, “Pretty good but I’m trying to get over it”. A number of years ago he came into my office complaining about how lousy life was treating him. I told him, “Well, it could be worse, I had a couple of policyholders that died this past week.” His response, “Some people have all the luck!” While my friend has a comically cynical attitude about life, do some people really have all the luck?
Luck is an interesting word because although it has a textbook meaning (success that seems to happen by chance), it is the word “success”, which helps define luck, that seems to hold various meanings for different people. Many years ago Spencer W. Kimball spoke to the women of the church. His remarks were entitled “Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters”, but his remarks can be equally applied to men. In that public discourse he said these words-
“May you realize that in you is the control of your life and what you are going to be, what you are going to do. Remember that your choices may control to some extent others whose lives will be a part of your life. Remember also that if you succeed, it isn’t because of luck. Success comes from faith and work and prayer and from constant righteous effort. It is a question of agency—of what you choose to do with gifts of God—everything upon the earth, wherein there is life. This reverence for agency and life make us greatly concerned about the world in which we live today. It is a world beset with evil, with frustrations, with ugliness. It makes us realize that we must make a strong stand for the right or we may not stand at all. The Lord has never promised us that we will be free of problems and challenges. He has, however, promised that with faith we will have the strength to meet any eventuality in this life.”
“Remember”, he said, “that if you succeed, it isn’t because of luck”. Then President Kimball explained his definition of “success.” He said, “Success comes from faith and work and prayer and from constant righteous effort. It is a question of agency-of what you choose to do with gifts of God.”
Luck, you see is really a word some use to explain the world’s definition of success. But luck has nothing to do with how we choose to use our agency and our God given gifts. We are in total control of those things. Luck is a word never mentioned in the scriptures for a reason. Because it is not a celestial concept and also because the attributes of faith, hard work, prayer and constant righteous efforts are gained through long suffering and obedience to the commandments of the Lord. They don’t fall in our lap by chance.
My policyholder’s exclaim of “Some people have all the luck” is a common refrain for this life. But there is no room in heaven for it!