When I was growing up in Lehi, Utah, USA, my family had a garden large enough that we rotated the corn and potatoes every year. One day my father told me to weed the corn while he weeded the potatoes. As I worked my way down a row of six-inch-high (15 cm) corn, I found a solitary potato plant growing larger and more beautiful than any of the potato plants on Dad’s side of the garden. I called to him and asked, “What should I do with this?”
Dad barely looked up. “Pull it.”
Believing he hadn’t realized I was pointing to a potato plant, I objected, “But Dad, it isn’t a weed. It’s a potato.” Again, without looking up, he said, “Not this year. This year it’s a weed. Pull it.” So I did.
Since then I have often pondered the wisdom of my father’s words. I have come to realize that obedience is not just making a right choice but making a right choice in the right season. When I consider all the things Heavenly Father would have me do in this life, doing them at the right time seems as critical as doing them at all. For instance, serving a mission, dating, getting married, having children, gaining an education, and beginning full-time employment are right choices. Yet when people do these good things in the wrong order, the consequences are often disastrous.
King Benjamin taught that we should “see that all … things are done in wisdom and order” (Mosiah 4:27). Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Faith also includes trust in God’s timing, for He has said, ‘All things must come to pass in their time’ (D&C 64:32).”1
I believe Satan deceives us by convincing us to do the right things in the wrong order: sexual intimacy before marriage, dating before age 16, becoming a parent and then getting married, and so forth. The greatest commandments of God, when compromised or polluted, become plants grown out of season—weeds. When I have been tempted to justify doing the right thing in the wrong season, I have been grateful for my father’s important lesson: “Not this year. This year it’s a weed. Pull it.”