Yesterday, I woke up and discovered that while it was somewhat overcast outside, it was not raining for a change, so I put on my work-in-the-yard clothes and cut the grass from 8am until well past noon. As I pushed my old electric mower around the yard, I thought of you and your ward and what I might say that would be of value to you in your lives. As I worked along, I considered several parables and concepts, three of which I would like to consider today:
- parable of the dandelion: perseverance
- parable of the lawnmower: power of the priesthood, spirit teaches not me
- parable of the cut grass: endure to the end, line upon line, not perfect .. but complete
- First - parable of the dandelion: perseverance
Despite all my efforts to mow them down, they remain. Unlike any of my other plants, despite lack of care, watering, digging or weeding, they remain. Even on the grassed area where I drive my car around the garage – repeatedly - there are more dandelions than grass. What if we were more like those dandelions? They grow and thrive where they are planted. They persevere! When there is little or no water, they work harder and develop faster. When the opposition roars by, trying to mow them down, they just duck their heads down and hold on fast, and then pop right back up. They stay! and Dandelions are not afraid to share and grow in the gospel. They send their message out on the wind to anyone willing to listen. I'm not implying that you or I are weeds here in the garden of life, we are much more, but I believe we could take a lesson from them, and they make lovely bouquets – especially from the hands of your children or grandchildren. So, the next time you are mowing your lawn and you see a friendly yellow flower waving up to you, smile and think to yourself: 'I should be more like you. I can consistently read my scriptures, pray, ponder, do my home-teaching, and grow in the church'. As you do so, you will be blessed.
If you encounter trials and opposition, think: 'I am not a pansy – I'm a tough dandelion.' You and I are children of God (Moses 1:13). We can do this'.
Consider: D&C 78:17-19, 22 .. we are little children (but remember who's children we are) .. have not yet understood – the Lord will bless and lead us – receive with thankfulness .. be faithful and wise..
- Second - parable of the lawnmower: power of the priesthood, spirit teaches not me
Another thought: My wife bought us our lawnmower at a garage sale last year. It works great, but it is electric. I have to string a cable out from the house or the garage for it to work – actually three cables. I have a long yellow extension cord, then a long orange one, and then another short originally orange. now grass green, one each plug into each other and then into the mower for it to work. If any connection becomes loose or unplugged, the mower stops. If the connections are good, then I can hold the safety lever, and the mower blade spins. If I let go of the lever, the mower stops. If the connections are all good and I hold the lever in place properly, and push/steer the mower, the grass gets cut.
In this parable, the cables represent the power of the priesthood. Electricity flows only when all the connections are correct. Without the electrical cables the mower remains silent. I suppose, my yellow cord could represent the Aaronic Priesthood. Using it alone lets me cut the grass, but only to a certain degree or distance. My orange extension cords could represent the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is powered from the same source, but allows more work to be done due to it's extended reach, in this case - my entire yard. Now, even if the cables are in place, if the power is stopped from the source, my mower will not work. The power of the priesthood comes from God to those with the authority – the proper cabling in place.
Even with the cables in place and the mower operational, I still have to do my part and push the mower and myself to where it is needed. Once I have the priesthood and the power, no work is completed without effort on my part. And is it me cutting the grass? That is how we describe it, but in reality, the mower cuts the grass. All I am doing is placing the mower in contact with my lawn that needs cutting – it does the actual work. Even with priesthood authority and power, I need to do my part to make it effective. I have to go home-teaching. I have to accept callings, prepare and give lessons, give talks, go where I am directed, and even then, it is not me that is doing the work .. it is the spirit that teaches, that motivates, that works.
D&C 42:11-14 11 Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church. 12 And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel. 13 And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit. 14 And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.
Without the mower actually working, ye shall not cut. One could go through the motions – but without impact nor effect. If you are going to push the mower around, make sure it is working, or else – ye shall not teach.
Where shall we work? The spirit will guide you. In the case of my lawn, it all has to be cut, eventually, or it is not 'done'. I can start in the back, or the front, the north or the south, but I do need to start somewhere. It is usually pretty obvious where I need to go .. if you are unsure, just ask your wife. I am certain she will know. D&C 80:3 states that .. we cannot go amiss – just get started somewhere!
See also: D&C 4 .. the field is white ..
“No matter where you serve or whom you teach, center your teaching on the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The Lord will bless you as you teach the message of the Restoration to a world that desperately needs the gospel of Jesus Christ” (“Statement on Missionary Work,” First Presidency letter, 11 Dec. 2002). “ PMG p6
“Preach the first principles of the Gospel—preach them over again: you will find that day after day new ideas and additional light concerning them will be revealed to you. You can enlarge upon them so as to comprehend them clearly. You will then be able to make them more plainly understood
by those [you] teach.” – HYRUM SMITH HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, 6:323
- God is our literal Father in Heaven. He loves us. Every person on earth is a child of God and a member of God’s family. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our Savior and Redeemer.
- Our loving Father in Heaven reached out to His children throughout biblical history by revealing His gospel to prophets. Sadly, many people rejected that gospel; even some of those who accepted it changed gospel doctrines and ordinances and fell into unbelief and apostasy.
- Our Father in Heaven sent His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to earth. He performed miracles and taught His gospel. He accomplished the Atonement and was resurrected.
- Beginning with the First Vision, God has again reached out in love to His children. He restored the gospel of Jesus Christ and His priesthood authority and organized His Church on the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is convincing evidence of this Restoration.
- Third - parable of the cut grass: endure to the end, line upon line, not perfect .. but complete
Pushing a lawn mower across the great green field of life is therapeutic, it feels good to be out and about and doing something that makes a difference. You can really see the improvements you are making. I like to start at one end and work my way back and forth from there to the other end. If you get tired or hot or discouraged and stop mid-way it is obvious where you need to restart and continue from. If you just persevere and just keep pushing the mower path upon path, line upon line .. you will soon see that the entire yard is mowed. Great! And now what? Are we done? Don't worry. If you keep watering and fertilizing and wait a week or so you will soon have an opportunity to do it all over again all summer.
“Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” (3 Ne. 15:9.)
What does it mean to endure to the end? Endure what, and how? And when is the end? Once you attain eternal life status, are we then done? Will there ever be more lawns to care for? More work to do? Are we ever 'done' pondering scriptures, praying, and doing good works? Are the dishes, laundry, cleaning the house chores ever 'done' forever? Are you 'done' doing your homework, raising your children, improving your self, caring for others? Is there no more we can do?
The scriptures use the term 'endure' to mean 'to last,' 'to continue,' or 'to remain'. Nephi explains that we must “be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.” (2 Ne. 33:9; emphasis added.) Thus, to endure is to continue in the path we adopted at baptism by keeping our commitments to Christ, until the end of our mortal life and beyond.
We all have work, let no one shirk .. put your shoulder to the wheel! The Lord wants us to learn and develop and increase in capacity and ability. We can then use what we have learned and apply it to ever more challenging and difficult tasks. Unlike the teachings of the world, our goal is not retirement, a life of ease, a time when work is no longer required. Our real goal is eternal life, a life of active work hereafter, achieved by learning here and now, 'enduring' and learning line-upon-line until we can achieve a work similar to our Father whose work and glory is 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39). And to think that it is all started by just learning to cut the grass properly.