Thursday, October 22, 2009

That Your Burdens May be Light - Elder L. Whitney Clayton

Elder Clayton of the Seventy gave a talk during conference about the burdens that we face in life. The temporal difficulties related to "provident living" are definitely addressed by his talk.

That Your Burdens May be Light

As I read it, I really thought about the things he mentioned about burdens caused by others. Often, we can have temporal difficulties that are caused by others:
  • Robbery, theft and vandalism
  • Mistakes of children or other relatives
  • Unfair treatment at work
  • For children, parents can make mistakes that make their lives temporally much more difficult
In addition, some of our problems may be caused to some extent by others:
  • Never having learned self-reliance from parents or other caregivers
  • Feeling compelled to offer assistance to chronically needy friends and relatives
These types of burdens pose a double risk - more than just the temporal risk, it can be very easy to hate or despise the person causing the difficulties.

Elder Clayton gives the following advice that I think is especially important in this situation:

Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues that contribute to eventual perfection. They invite us to yield “to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and [put] off the natural man and [become] a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and [become] as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.”2 Thus burdens become blessings, though often such blessings are well disguised and may require time, effort, and faith to accept and understand.

I was reminded especially of one of the times when I didn't handle this type of situation well. While on my mission, one of the Elders that I worked with had never learned how to manage money. Every month, he ran out of money halfway through, and we'd have to request more. Feeling guilty about it, I began trying to spend less and less, so we wouldn't have to request so much extra. During this process, I got angrier and angrier at him, until we couldn't work together effectively. We honestly wasted a great deal of time when we should have been serving the people. Thinking back, if I'd forgiven him and had a better attitude, I'm certain it would have been more than worth the few hundred extra dollars that we used. I can think of a dozen different better reactions I could have had to his poor financial skills. Though he certainly made plenty of mistakes, I can't help but wonder if perhaps mine were greater.

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