Monday, January 11, 2010

My Word

It seems hard to write down my goals in a numbered format, so I'm borrowing the idea of just using a word that captures the feeling of change I desire. It's taken a while, but I finally have my word for the new year. I got it from a talk given by Elder Bednar called "More Diligent and Concerned at Home". Like most good advice it comes in the form of a promise and a warning.

Promise first.

In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.

Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.

Now the warning.

Being consistent in our homes is important for another reason. Many of the Savior’s harshest rebukes were directed to hypocrites. Jesus warned His disciples concerning the scribes and Pharisees: “Do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:3). This strong admonition is sobering given the counsel to “express love—and show it,” to “bear testimony—and live it,” and to “be consistent.”

The hypocrisy in our lives is most readily discerned and causes the greatest destruction within our own homes. And children often are the most alert and sensitive when it comes to recognizing hypocrisy.

A public statement of love when the private actions of love are absent at home is hypocrisy—and weakens the foundation of a great work. Publicly declaring testimony when faithfulness and obedience are missing within our own homes is hypocrisy—and undermines the foundation of a great work. The commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16) applies most pointedly to the hypocrite in each of us. We need to be and become more consistent. “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

I know that's a bit to take in, but it has been on my heart since I heard it last fall. I found comfort in his promise that little everyday actions do make a difference. And the warning is to strong to ignore. The thought that hypocrisy is not just a stagnant choice, but a destruction of good that has been built.

So my word for the new year is:


Consistent in my actions reflecting my beliefs. Consistent in who I and what I offer my husband and kids. Follow through on thoughts, impressions and responsibilities.

1 comment:

  1. That was one of my favorite talks from conference, probably because I knew he was speaking of things I needed to work on. Great word for the year.


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