I once had a friend who was a mountain lion hunter. He loved to saddle up his favorite horse, tie on the saddle bags, and make sure his gun was cleaned and ready for instant firing.
One day while I was visiting him, I noticed he had a full-grown hunting dog tied to one of the sheds. “Isn’t he a beauty!” I commented.
“He’s got to go,” my friend replied. “I can’t be bothered with him.”
“Why? What’s the problem?” I asked in surprise.
My lion-tracking friend explained that ever since the dog was a pup it had been trained to track lions. “He knows what I expect,” the man continued, “but the last time we were on a three-day hunt he took off after a deer and then a coyote and finally some rabbits, and was gone the best part of a full day. He knows he must stay on the trail of the lion to be one of my helpers. Our business is mountain lions, and this dog is bad for business. Now he’s for sale pretty cheap.”
I felt sorry for that beautiful, healthy, yet disobedient dog. He couldn’t stay on the path that would keep a place with his master for him.
When I look back over my life to when I was just a small boy, I remember how hard it sometimes was for me to do as my parents asked. Baseball and basketball were more fun than practicing the saxaphone, and there were times when I didn’t see the value of going to every Church meeting. I am grateful my parents helped me stay on the path of the Master until I was mature enough to choose the right for myself.
Our Heavenly Father has explained to us how important it is to be obedient. “And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the thing which they suffer” (D&C 105:6).
Our mothers, fathers, teachers, and our friends often scold us. Or we may have to do something we really don’t like to do (suffer) in order that we might become the mature and obedient citizens the Lord wants us to be.
All around us nature shows the value of doing what is right. If chipmunks do not store food in the summer, they will starve in the winter. If birds do not build proper nests before eggs are laid, the baby birds will die.
As children of a loving Heavenly Father, we know that if we keep His commandments, we will receive the rewards He has for us. If we obey our parents, we will be blessed with the power to make right decisions, and someday we too might become good and loving parents and teach our children the right.
I am grateful that loved ones, good teachers, and friends did not allow me to stray from the path of truth and right, the path of obedience.