I have watched this video a number of times but as I watched it this time, something new struck me. This man had heard rumors of great wealth and was willing to give up everything to seek them. He hadn't gone out ahead of time to scope it out. He didn't hold on to his stuff and take a quick little trip to see if it was true. Rather, he decided that it was something that he wanted, he knew that he would need to give up everything that he owned in order to obtain that, and that is just what he did.
He didn't hold on to anything. He knew that this venture would require everything he had. So he acted on it, sold everything, and went on his way. When he got to his destination and discovered that it was a lot harder than he had expected I am sure he got discouraged and disappointed. Through the assistance of a new friend, he was able to see the importance of putting in the work and accumulating the great wealth that he had initially anticipated.
As I watched the video I realized that this translates over onto a spiritual plane as well. There is a greater reward available to all. It is harder to achieve than one would think but at the same time, the reward is also far greater than you or I could ever conceive!
And all that it requires of us is to give up all that God requires.
I know full well how hard this can be. As I mentioned in earlier post, when my family and I moved here to Utah, I had a very hard time. I was encouraged to move on, to accept my new circumstances, and to make the best of them. But I wouldn't. I couldn't. It was too much to ask me to simply forget about the people and settings that had grown to fill such a large part of my heart. When we moved I felt like I had left a large part of myself back in Michigan and all my parents took here to Utah was the outer shell.
For over a year I put on a happy face and did my best to cover the fact that all I wanted was to be back "home". As life progressed, a decline started occurring within me. Over time I started caring less and less about one thing or the other. All I wanted was to be back. I didn't care about school. I didn't care about friends. I didn't care about my family. I just wanted to go "home".
Thankfully, I was blessed with an angel father who recognized my internal struggle that I was having. He observed and understood what I was going through and came to my rescue. I don't know that he even said anything but one day he handed me a talk that he had printed off for me. It is by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and is titled "Remember Lot's Wife" (which can be found on speeches.byu.edu).
Begrudgingly, I decided to please my dad by reading it and I am so glad that I did because it turned my life around. In this talk, Elder Holland discusses the Biblical story of Lot and his family who are commanded to leave the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. At the time, these cities were the worst of the worst but for a time, the family of Lot had made this home and made it a part of who they were. Lot even put up a good fight with the Lord to allow them to stay! But in the end, God commanded them to flee and not look back.
But not all of them obeyed completely. Lot's wife, as many of us, especially myself, can relate to, wanted to stay. She left the city but on the way out, looked back. Because of her disobedience, the scriptures teach us, she was turned into a pillar of salt. What happened? She physically left these wicked cities but she couldn't let go. She couldn't accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, something better was awaiting her by obeying God.
When asked why he has moved as much as he has for his job, my dad always responds by saying that that is what God wanted. Our move to Utah was no exception. I knew fairly early on during our time here in Utah that this was where God wanted my family and I to be, but just as Lot's wife, this wasn't where I wanted to be. I wanted to be in Michigan! But after I read this talk that my loving father gave to me, I learned a very powerful lesson. Regardless of our own personal wishes or desires or weaknesses or whatever, we need to move on. We must press forward, not backward.
So that's what I did. Reading this talk inspired me to give it a try. Maybe there was something good about this Utah place. Maybe it wasn't all bad. The hard times continued to come, in fact I would say that they probably came even stronger than before but because of where my heart was, those experiences only served to strengthen my sure foundation in the Savior.
Over time I started to make friends. I started to have fun. I started to realize who I was and more importantly who Jesus Christ is. I came to find great joy in my new home. Was it easy? No! It was probably the hardest thing that I had done up to that point, but as I tested it out, I came to know that it was well worth it. I have come to know for myself that this is where God wants me to be. I still don't know exactly why, but I know it is true and that is all that matters to me.
And all of this came because I decided--with a lot of help--to let go and move on.
What are you holding on to? What is keeping you back? What is tempting you to be like Lot's wife and look back? What is keeping you from moving forward, from accepting the thought that your future could be far better than your past? What are you, as I had been, not allowing the Savior's Atoning sacrifice to take? After all, the invitation is available to all who will receive it:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Let each and every one of us determine now to be as the man and give up everything that is necessary to seek that greater reward. Let us willingly and readily give it all up so that we too can receive more happiness and more joy. It will take more effort and work than we initially anticipated, but following God always promises the blessings of knowing that our efforts and our sacrifices are exceedingly worth it! I know that this is true. I know that it is hard, but I know that it is worth it.