Monday, August 11, 2008

What is truly Important

Because I'm in the Relief Society presidency in my ward, every 3 month I write an article for the newsletter. The topic can be on anything I chose, (that ties into the gospel of course.) The only catch is that I must get it submitted before the end of the month. Now, one would think, I'd get it done early to avoid last minute procrastinations, but unfortunately I have yet to write that article... maybe next time. :)
I am grateful for this opportunity to express myself spiritually on paper. It's a very reflective process and time for me and I do feel my testimony grow as I contemplate what I really believe.
I'd like to thank Hans, my sweet husband, for his willingness to edit all of my articles with such ease and humor, you're the best.
New Brighton Ward Relief Society Newsletter
What is Truly Important

Monica Rawhouser

After our family van was recently stolen but never recovered, we purchased a newer minivan in great condition. Unfortunately four days later, a Semi truck spilled several 3’x 3’ sheets of steel on to our new ride. I was so angry at the driver. Our new van was not drivable and I was fuming. I walked over to the man I thought was the driver and as he was picking up the sheets of steel, I tried to yell over the passing traffic, “Your stuff hit my car!” The man looked at me, apparently not hearing my accusation and asked if I was all right.

I went back to my wrecked van and soon the police and driver came over, both asking if Conrad & I were all right. Of course we were all right; the metal hit my car not us. Then, while I was filling out paperwork the police officer noted that we were lucky to be alive and then I realized that it was a blessing that we were spared and that only our car was damaged. I had been so wrapped up in my van I didn’t even think how bad it could have been.

I suppose one could say I was being “stuff-ocated.” I was caught up in the many things I had acquired that I failed to remember what was most important, my family. It’s truly amazing that our car was the only thing damaged and that God had protected us from injury.

How can we, as members of the church, keep from being distracted? In 2007, Dallin H. Oaks discussed that we must prioritize our lives because there are many good and better things we can be focused on, but we must choose to put all of our energy into that which is best, first. Obviously that is easier said than done. How can we implement this counsel?

We recently traveled through Ohio, and I was moved by the simplicity of the lives of the Amish. They are a great example of this discipline. Their religion sets strict rules for everyone that limits all worldly aspirations. They must fill their time with work because they don’t automate their lives even though it would be easier. They are a simple and pure people, but their isolation also limits their influence on the outside world.

Our lives can be similarly directed, even in this modern world. In order to keep ourselves from focusing inwardly, we must avoid hoarding our time. The church gives us many ways to do this with callings. Because these are opportunities and not mandatory rules, we, individually must be proactive in setting personal goals. A great way of doing this is to write our goals down such as: stay for all 3 hours of church, attend the temple every month, and visit teach. Likewise we can avoid our tendency to amass “things” by paying a liberal fast offering and a full tithing.

In a recent talk by Pres. Monson, he quoted writer and philosopher C. S. Lewis who said: "If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them."

The former George Q. Cannon (First Counselor in the First Presidency), taught that “it requires
a very pure people to be as honest, virtuous, humble and upright when surrounded by luxury & wealth
as when they are in poor and destitute circumstances… Always remember that your lives, your ability,
the food you eat, the water you drink, the clothes you wear, the earth you tread, the air you breathe,
are all the Lord’s. . . You will look upon yourselves as stewards, and if you have a hundred dollars
in your hands, you will say, this is the Lord’s, and if He wants it, He can have it. If you have a
million dollars, you will feel the same. And where people have this feeling, riches cannot hurt them.
Latter-day Saints must have this kind of faith and feeling, or they cannot build up Zion and be the
people the Lord is desirous they should be."

I know from personal experience that this counsel is not easy, but becomes easier as we set goals and follow through. The Lord will bless us for our efforts and we will also be comforted in the knowledge that “where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also.”


Farnsworth Family said...

I love true to modern life. And the new word "stuff-ocated" is great. It says it all in one simple word. Nice work and I hope you will continue to post these entries to your Ward newsletter in the future! :)

Karen said...

I have to be honest and say that when I saw this post, I thought oh, this is a long one but it was so worth the read. But then all of your posts are worth reading. I love your blog. I needed that lesson. Definitely something to ponder over. Thanks.

Jill Mennig said...

You've taught this principle well with your words, Monica, but even more I learn this from you and Hans with the way you live your lives.

The Morris Fam said...

I love the quote by Monson about our charities needing to make us struggle....Loved the article!

Stacie Morris said...

Wow, Monica, that's a great article! Can I use it for a talk someday?

Michelle said...

Your baby got baptized!! Gosh it has been a long time. I know that Conrad is no longer the baby of the family, but he will always be your baby, right? Wow. I am so happy to have "found" you. Loved your post. You are like a breath of fresh air. Love you!

Michelle said...

Oh what a tard I am! I just went back to look at your blog and realized that Conrad got baptized LAST YEAR!! I just happened to notice the picture on the side there and didn't even look at the date. :)

The Lamberts said...

I loved that! You're awsome!