So I was reading the newspaper yesterday and happened upon the GO! section. This is the section where you can find all the events that are going on in the local and even the regional area. I browsed through all the concerts, movies, rodeos and then I flipped the page. In big capital letters read the words, “MORE THINGS TO DO.” Underneath and on the next four pages were categories of more things to do. There were lists of events under EXHIBITS, and there were lists of events under MUSEUMS and so on for OPERA, COMEDY, etc. There were MORE THINGS TO DO JUST FOR KIDS, too.
As if I didn’t already have enough things to do. It seems that we as a people excel at complicating our lives so much that we struggle to find time to entertain ourselves with more things to do. I still cringe to think of the time when all I wanted in life was to be successful. And to be successful you have to work hard. if I was working hard and building my dream, I would reach a point where I could coast the rest of my life. I have noticed, however, that people don’t truly coast when they hit that point. They still have to work just as hard to keep all the fancy things that they have acquired. The irony of seeking any kind of freedom, whether financial, spiritual, etc, is that the source of your freedom also becomes your master.
Today most people equate success with money. We forget, however, that money is not at all synonymous with success. Success depends on the journey, though. And the journey depends on your choice of direction. Jesus Christ said that no man can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold on to one and despise the other. We cannot serve God and Mammon. For those who do not know, Mammon is a word that has several meanings wrapped up in one: wealth, riches, possessions, materialism. Basically it is worldliness. And I cannot ignore how the two have been conflated.
This is in stark contrast to the teachings of our Savior who traveled without purse or scrip. And when once a man told Him that he would follow Him wherever He went, the Savior replied, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
I have come to learn that I cannot be a true disciple of Jesus Christ if I am always looking for more things to do, more things to buy, more riches to possess, more things to outgrow and more things to throw away. I’ll never forget the Saturday I toured a new outdoor shopping mall in Salt Lake City to see what all the fuss was about. There were so many people walking along, shopping, wearing their latest fashions and shiny things at overpriced outlets. Meanwhile, just outside the center at almost every entrance sat someone asking for help. There is a world full of people who need help. These are the people that Jesus Christ spent His time with during His mortal ministry. These are the people that Alma and the four sons of Mosiah spent countless years serving. I prefer to think of those words in a new context, and as I strive to be more like my Savior serving others, I know that there are always more things to do.
King Benjamin was one who had more things to do and he implored his people; his esteemed brothers and sisters to do the same:
16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
Indeed I have more things to do!