Monday, January 31, 2011

Better Than Digging Diamonds

Looking back on myself ten or twelve years ago, I wonder what my past self would have thought if I knew some of the things I value now in my life.  One in particular is maintaining a clean living place.  I know for a fact I am able to work harder and more effectively as I keep the things around me clean and organized.  I know the habits I have developed come mostly from the persuasion, perseverance and diligence of my Mom.  Just about every Saturday growing up, before we were allowed to do any other activities, my Mom would give each of us some chores we had to do.  While it is something I value now, it often seemed more of punishment growing up and nearly impossible to get everything done in one day.  Now, I think I could have gotten many of the things done in 30 minutes if I had really just started working on it.  As it was, it usually ended up taking me all of the morning and most of the afternoon as I would drag my feet with everything I did.  I very much appreciate my mother having the patience and dedication to help instill in us these habits.  I am sure it would have been easier for my mom to just do everything herself, but because of her taking time to do the extra work, I have found the value of working

I have found with many things in life, we seldom value things as much as when we have taken the time to work for them.  Learning to develop a habit of working is vital to us finding lasting satisfaction, joy and peace in this life.  In a recent conference address, Elder Christofferson talked about the value we can find in our own lives from work – “Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth.  Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and God.”  I know many times we think how nice it would be if we could just spend a day doing nothing.  But take some time to remember how you feel on those days.  As we take time to do nothing, many times we feel like nothings.  As we learn to work, we learn to achieve, and as we achieve we can find value in our lives. 

With work, I am reminded of the Seven Dwarfs from the Disney Classic Snow White.  As they work, they sing this song;

We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in our mine the whole day through
To dig dig dig dig dig dig dig is what we really like to do
It ain't no trick to get rich quick 
If you dig dig dig with a shovel or a pick
In a mine! In a mine! In a mine! In a mine!
Where a million diamonds shine!

We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig from early morn till night
We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig up everything in sight
We dig up diamonds by the score
A thousand rubies, sometimes more
But we don't know what we dig 'em for
We dig dig dig a-dig dig
 . . .

With all of the work the dwarfs do and all of their digging, by their own declaration, they don’t know why they are digging or what they are digging all of their diamonds for.  With the work we do, it is important to set goals and focus our labors on the work we do.  President Monson quoted in a talk, “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never crossing the goal line.”  The same as not having any purpose, we can also work toward things which do not bring us any benefit.  We can work for power in this world, we can focus on the appetites or hungers we have, or we can focus on the vain and prideful things of the world—all of which end with death.  God has given us clear direction on how we should focus our efforts; “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent” –John 17: 3.  Our life here is to come to know Jesus Christ.  We come to know Christ best as we emulate the life He lived in our own, through following the commandments and taking personal time in our lives to build a relationship with God.  I know God is there; I know He loves us.  I know He expects us to work hard.

“Cease to be idle, cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.” – Doctrine and Covenants 88: 124

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