When People Are Able But Unwilling To Depend On God

This is a General Conference Odyssey post.

Boyd K. Packer said,

“When people are able but unwilling to take care of themselves, we are responsible to employ the dictum of the Lord that the idler shall not eat the bread of the laborer.”

Clarification 1) If you’re too lazy to work, you don’t get the Lord’s reward.

Clarification 2) The Lord’s reward lies in the work that we do.

Clarification 3) Working for the Lord changes our hearts and our will.

Clarification 4) Our will becomes the Lord’s will and we are able to set aside personal desires.

Clarification 5) The reward is having the same desires as the Lord bringing us eternal peace and happiness.

Boyd K. Packer’s talk, entitled, “Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Own Way,” made me immediately think of the self-serving world we live in today. It was almost as though he knew the storm we were headed toward and if we listened to his pleadings, we would be able to avoid much sorrow.

By living the principle of self-reliance—including gathering food storage, financial security, and reaching out to serve others—we put our trust in the Lord’s hands and He will take care of us. Yes, we’ve done the work, but the reward is in doing the work. Our ultimate work is to depend on Him and our reward is to be with Him.

This idea suddenly made me see the principle of self-reliance differently.

This principle is what guards us against selfish behavior and self-centeredness, which plagues our world. We’ve all lived through the “me-generation” only to see minority groups emerge with demands that cause little change in behavior from themselves but a monumental change in attitude from everyone else.

Self-reliance is an opportunity to depend on the Lord by living life His way. It demands that we sacrifice some things for better things; thinking toward the future instead of the moment; listening for inspiration to guide us, not relying on our own narrow vision; living with security, trusting in the Lord, and having the freedom to make good choices instead of living in fear, anxiety, and dread.

As we go through hard things the Lord is urging us to turn to Him, working through our weakness only to be given strength beyond our own. People who are able but unwilling to depend on the Lord are turning less and less toward Him. Instead, they are relying on the arm of flesh to solve their emotional problems. But the Lord, Jesus Christ, is the answer. He is always the answer.