- As blessings come and the Church matures, we all hope that service will never be so difficult as these early members found it, but as missionaries are singing this day from Oslo to Osorno and from Seattle to Cebu, we are “called to serve.” To raise our families and serve faithfully in the Church, all without running faster than we have strength, require wisdom, judgment, divine help—and inevitably some sacrifice. From Adam to the present hour, true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has always been linked to the offering of sacrifice, our small gift to be a symbolic echo of His majestic offering. With his eye firmly on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that a religion that does not include covenants of sacrifice cannot have the power to bring the promise of eternal life.
Elder Holland says we need a more manageable balance so that our lives are well rounded.
- Please understand that I am one who preaches emphatically a more manageable, more realistic expectation of what our bishops and other leaders can do. I especially feel that a wide range of civic, professional, and other demands which take parents, including and especially mothers, out of homes where children are being raised is among the most serious problems in contemporary society.
He reminds us that our spouse and our children also need and deserve time from a loving husband and father.
- I am adamant about spouses and children deserving sacred, committed time with a husband and father.
Elder Holland tells a story of a spouse who was getting ready to go out on date night with her husband who was the Bishop. The phone rang, the Bishop answered and the rest of the night was spent dealing with the crisis on the other end of the line. The spouse was sad, felt neglected, and unhappy. Several weeks later, a woman in the ward approached her and explained that she was having some issues and had decided to leave her husband and follow a stranger away from her family and life. She determined the last option she would have is to plead for help from her Bishop who happened that evening to pick up the phone and the Bishop helped her through not making a choice that would have ruined her and her family's life. The woman thanked this wife of the Bishop for her sacrifice and sharing of her husband's time.
Elder Holland reminds us that we need to protect our marriages, and make sure we are focusing on those things in our lives that require our time. He also thanks those that sacrifice their time for others and that serve faithfully in their callings.
- I testify of home and family and marriage, the most precious human possessions of our lives. I testify of the need to protect and preserve them while we find time and ways to serve faithfully in the Church. In what I hope are rare moments when these seem to be in conflict, when we find an hour or a day or a night of crisis when duty and spiritual prompting require our response, in those situations I pay tribute to every wife who has ever sat alone while dinner got cold, every husband who has made his own dinner, which with him as cook was bound to be cold anyway, and every child who has ever been disappointed in a postponed camping trip or a ball game a parent unexpectedly had to miss (and that better not be very often!).
- I thank all who, in challenging circumstances across the Church, do the best they can to build the kingdom of God on earth.
- Such service inevitably brings challenging decisions about how to balance priorities and how best to be the disciples He wishes us to be. I thank Him for His divine guidance in helping us make those decisions and for assisting us to find the right way for all concerned. I thank Him that “he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” and that He has called us to do some of the same for each other.
Making sure we have a balance in our lives is a challenge we all have to work through. In my current calling, there are times that I need to go to someone's need and I can't share who the person is or why I need to be there. I am lucky to have a spouse that supports me and understands when those things occur. But I also recognize that there are boundaries that need to be set. We need to learn to respect another person's time and not ask excessively for someone's attention. We need to make sure the things we request of a person are reasonable and requested at reasonable times. I struggle with wanting to be available to help but also recognizing that there is an appropriate time and place to address the things of God's kingdom. Maybe I fail miserably at this, but I am trying to find a balance that doesn't leave my family paying the price for my dedication to serve the Lord.