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The Gift of Work- The Brightest Morning is Born of the Darkest Night

There is no substitute under heaven for productive labor.

 

By T. Jackson Mkhabela, Africa Southeast Area Seventy

 

Elder T. Jackson Mkhabela, Africa Southeast Area Seventy

We are taught that the gospel has the answers to the problems of all the world, President David O. McKay said: “There are those in the world who say that jealousy, enmity, selfishness in men’s heart will always preclude the establishment of the ideal society known as the kingdom of God. No matter what scoffers say the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ is to eliminate sin and wickedness from the hearts of men and so to transform society that peace and goodwill will prevail on this earth” (General Conference, April 1941, p. 109)

The scriptures confirm this statement, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25) We also read about some conditions of peace, joy and unbelievable happiness. (4 Nephi 1:15-16) Yet for many of us it is inconceivable that such conditions are possible in mortality.

True each one of us is engaged in a continuous struggle to satisfy needs; although the physiological needs are prepotent, most of our needs are satisfied in relationships. I have come to learn that the deepest pain that we carry, the greatest sorrow that beset us, heartaches, grief and sorriness is prolonged by our inability to solve problems. I have also come to understand that principles of the gospel are tools at our disposal to resolve almost all the challenges of life.

Consider this…

Let us consider this hypothetical situation: you are a young man or woman growing up in the poverty stricken streets of Mamelodi in Pretoria, South Africa or the forgotten corner of Modjadji village in Limpopo, South Africa or Chyulu in Kenya. The only subsistence means of support is the grant your parents receive from the government.  There is no chance for you to proceed to university when you complete grade twelve. You can never achieve the highest quality of life without college or university degree.  You are stuck.  You know it, your parents know it, and your peers know it. How can the gospel help solve this problem? The question that I would ask is which gospel principle I can apply to solve this problem?

Let us consider these life changing verses, “…cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground”. (Genesis 3:17-19)  These verses in no uncertain terms tell us that our father in heaven has decreed that in mortality we will face hardship and that the principle of work will bring peace and contentment in our lives.

As a young man or woman if you work harder, focus your energy and the entire faculties that you have been blessed with on your studies, attend seminary and institute and obtain the highest grades possible in your final examination, you increase your chances to receive scholarships from government and many companies that are ready to provide corporate responsibilities such as scholarships.

The gospel of work

President Hinckley puts it very well, “I believe in the gospel of work. Work is a miracle by which talent is brought to the surface and dreams becomes reality.  There is no substitute under heaven for productive labor. It is the process by which idle visions become dynamic achievements. I suppose that we are all inherently lazy. We would rather play than work. A little playing and a little loafing are good. But it is work that spells the difference in the life of a man or woman or a boy or a girl” (Standing for Something, p. 80)

The same principle applies to sorrow or sadness that is brought about by broken relationships, unfulfilled expectation and dashed hopes. Consider this superlative advice taken from a talk by J. Richard Clarke: “Work is honorable. It is good therapy for most problems. It is the antidote for worry. It is the equalizer for deficiency of native endowment. Work makes it possible for the average to approach genius. What we may lack in aptitude, we can make up for in performance. (Ensign, May 1982, “The Value of Work”)

“As recommended by Korsaren: ‘If you are poor, work. … If you are happy, work. Idleness gives room for doubts and fears. If disappointments come, keep right on working. If sorrow overwhelms you, work. … When faith falters and reason fails, just work. When dreams are shattered and hope seems dead, work. Work as if your life were in peril. It really is. No matter what ails you, work. Work faithfully. … Work is the greatest remedy available for both mental and physical afflictions.’” (The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life, New York: Forbes Inc., 1968, p. 427.)

Gospel principles can help us find success

Gospel principles- be it work, faith, hope or devotion or any that we can pick from the teachings of prophets, seers and revelators- can help us find success and fulfillment in this world. With effort in application of gospel principles we can rise above those negative elements in our lives that constantly pull us down. There can be no obstacle too great and no challenge too difficult.

The darkest night will surely turn to a beautiful morning. Hardship is a prerequisite for character refinement, a building block for emotional intelligence and solid maturity. The strongest testimony and enduring faith are born of trials and tribulation; only those who see opportunities in hardship and growth in trials attain the status of peace and stability in mortal life and are able to lead others to that fountain of joy.

I bear witness of this truth and testify that God lives; He is the supreme governor of the universe and the father of mankind. He is intensely interested in our welfare and involved in our lives. Jesus is the anointed one, the author and finisher of our faith; the Holy Ghost will testify to each one of us the truth of all things.

 In Jesus Christ’s name Amen.