Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

What Is the Great Work that God Has for Me?

            My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Ezra 1; 3-7 and Nehemiah 2; 4-6; 8. The title of the lesson is “I Am Doing a Great Work.” The lesson was introduced with the following paragraph. 

The Jewish people had been held captive in Babylonia for about 70 years. They had lost Jerusalem and the temple, and many had forgotten their commitment to God’s law. But God had not forgotten them. In fact, He had declared through His prophet, “I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return” (Jeremiah 29:10). True to this prophecy, the Lord did make a way for the Jews to return, and He raised up servants who accomplished “a great work’ for His people (Nehemiah 6:3). These servants included a governor named Zerubbabel, who oversaw the rebuilding of the house of the Lord; Ezra, a priest and scribe who turned the hearts of the people back to the Lord’s law; and Nehemiah, a later governor of Judah who led the work of rebuilding the protective walls around Jerusalem. They met opposition, of course, but also received assistance from unexpected sources. Their experiences an inform and inspire ours, because we too are doing a great work. And like theirs, our work has much to do with the house of the Lord, the law of the Lord, and the spiritual protection we find in Him.

            As in most lessons, there are several principles taught in the lesson. The principle that I wish to discuss tonight is “I can help the work of God advance despite opposition.” The Lord’s work rarely goes unopposed because Satan is constantly trying to stop the work of the Lord. This principle is based on the opposition experienced by both Zerubbabel and Nehemiah. In both cases, the “adversaries of Judah” (Ezra 4:1) were Samaritans – descendants of Israelites who had mixed with the Gentiles, and they were opposed to both the temple and the wall.

            Who are the adversaries faced by the people of God today? America was founded by Christian-Judeo people who came to the New World for freedom to practice their religion. The majority of Americans today are Christians, but Christians and Jews are treated with disrespect by the culture, the schools, and the politicians. Conservatives tend to be more religious than Democrats. This shows in the support or the lack of support for such things as abortion and gay marriage. This site claims that religious persecution is worst for Christians, then Jews, then Muslims, and then atheists. 

            President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke at the priesthood session of General Conference in April 2009 on the topic of “We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down.” He referenced the story of Nehemiah who was repairing the wall around Jerusalem when his adversaries tried to distract him from his “great work” (Nehemiah 6:3). President Uchtdorf spoke of things in our lives that cause us to lose our focus on the Lord’s work. 

Our Heavenly Father seeks those who refuse to allow the trivial to hinder them in their pursuit of the eternal. He seeks those who will not allow the attraction of ease or the traps of the adversary to distract them from the work He has given them to perform. He seeks those whose actions conform to their words – those who say with conviction, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.”

            Your “great work” may be different than mine. Missionaries are doing a “great work” in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people. My sister is doing a “great work” in family history work and keeping the records of our family. Other people do a “great work” when they take family names to the temple, while still other people do a “great work” in teaching and training their children to become kind and responsible adults. My “great work” at this stage of my life is to share the lessons I have learned in my nearly eighty years. One of those lessons is that education and/or advanced training are essential for being successful. One way that I am teaching this lesson is working on my own degree. A part of this lesson that my grandchildren are learning is that getting an education is easier at younger ages.

            We all have to discover our own “great work” because we each have different talents and gifts. Heavenly Father will help us to discover what He wants us to do, but He wants us to study it out and then go to Him for counsel and confirmation. I encourage you to discover your own “great work” and move forward with it.

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