. Refuse to Abandon the Good
In a recent General Conference address President Monson said, “Temptations come in various forms throughout our lives” (May 2008 “Ensign”, page 65). This statement rings true in so many ways; the temptations of life are always there, they just change shape, shade, and kind. Often we little realize that they are tugging us away from the very principles we hold dear.
One temptation that seems to plague the middle and later years of life is an abandonment of the good. Think of it, haven’t you been tempted to skip this month’s fast because you have fasted for so many years and you’re tired, hungry, and distracted just this Sabbath? Have you wondered if it will really matters if you don’t go to the temple this time? Do you have to hold family home evening this week? Haven’t you done it enough? And what about doing family history? Do you really have to keep making time for it when you’ve done so much already? Can’t it all just wait and you’ll catch up later?
Oh, the subtly of the adversary, thinking to make us complacent and content, just a little too comfortable with letting things slide.
“But I’ve been in the nursery before, too many times, in fact.”
“I have already taught Primary, supported the Scouts, and gone to one too many dull Sacrament meetings.”
This temptation to abandon the good is everywhere around us. We see it in the partially active neighbor, in our less-than-interested son, and in the former ward leader who seems to be going slowly but distinctly dormant.
This desire to abandon, even just a little bit, might happen because we feel we’ve been abandoned, sometimes by others and sometimes by God. It is then we must be strong. We must actively seek to do good. This means a decision, a commitment to action, a desire to keep up with the good works of previous years. When we are younger, “action” is thrust upon us with responsibilities and challenges coming faster than we would want. As we mature and life brings new seasons, we often have to decide to act. It is action we can and must plan. We must continue to “go about doing good.”
Examples from my own life sustain me when I feel weak. When our son was dying of leukemia, my parents came and fasted with us the day after their tiring and hot road trip to bless the last days of our child.
My paternal aunt has never left her family history to another and carefully saves and preserves the heritage of her parents, grandparents, and two daughters who have gone on before her to heaven. She trusts that this family history will bless her children, grandchildren, cousins, siblings, nieces, and nephews for many years to come. She continues to act despite her 80 years, a failing hip, and nagging pains throughout her body.
My maternal grandmother regularly and diligently acted by serving in the local hospital, attending the temple, and writing to her numerous posterity long after her husband had passed away. Taking action was a choice, her choice, and it blessed her life, those she loved, and many people on both sides of the veil.
I hope I too can choose to “seek” for the good, to avoid the temptation of abandonment, that I may stand firm in my commitments, convictions, and covenants. President Monson continued his counsel, “Jesus loved. Jesus served. Jesus testified. Let us begin now, this very night, to do so. Cast off forever will be the old self and with it defeat, despair, doubt, and disbelief. To a newness of life we come–a life of faith, hope, courage, and joy.” With our prophet’s counsel I feel recommitted to never abandon the good and to instead strive to act, plan, and seek it. I want to refuse to let this temptation of the later years afflict my life or rob it of the joys which have been promised.
I believe that refusing to abandon the good is, in part, what enduring to the end means–simply refusing to abandon that which should be most precious to us, the true gospel of Jesus Christ and our personal commitments to it that anchor our lives.
Photography by David N. Ricks. Used with permission.