For behold, this life is the time for men to prepared to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors."
As I reflect on the beautiful daffodils that have filled our days with sunshine and smiles for the past few weeks, it saddens me to see their short but joyous lives coming to an end. They will soon be back under the ground to wait for a new day to come forth in the future. Such is life.
Our lives are but a moment in eternity. Life is all about growing and becoming. When we are returned to the ground, we have heavenly reassurance we shall come forth to a glorious promise of perfect peace and joy, if we desire it above all earthly things.
A dear sister is in pain all the time, barely able to get around on her crutches. She has to get a ride to church meetings and home again. She attends faithfully every Sunday. Many of the weak, infirm, aged, and crippled come in wheelchairs or on crutches. They put me to shame. It is a huge ordeal to go anywhere for them, but they come. Would I be as faithful or would I stay home feeling sorry for myself? I'm too embarrassed to answer that question.
Here's the latest in terms of reasons why a person won't attend Church (some ARE legitimate):
1. Me dog needs a walk, ya see.
2. A bit early (10 a.m. or 2 p.m.).
3. It makes me feel guilty.
4. Really don't know, really.
5. A bit too much drinkin' Satdey night with me blokes, sleepin' in, ya know.
6. Not good 'nuff. Bad 'abits 'n that.
7. I don't get enthin' outtit.
8. As long as __________is Bishop, I woont return.
9. Lost me faith.
10. 'Fraid I'll get asked to pray or read.
11. Can't sit that long.
12. Too much will be expected of me.
13. Don't know what to say to people.
14. I don't want any extra stuff in my life right now.
15. No time for it.
16. Too much extra stuff is expected (like visiting others, serving in callings, doing charitable service, etc.)
17. Can't pay me tithing.
18. Ten percent is too much to ask.
19. Members don't make me feel welcome.
20. Nobody ever calls or visits during the week.
21. No one talks to me.
22. Too ill.
23. The kids are too hard to manage.
24. I can't hear.
25. Too noisy with the children.
26. People smile and are all fake like. They can't really be that happy, right?
27. It is the only day I can see my children.
28. We always have dinner with me mum on Sundays.
29. It's my only day off and I have lots of work to do.
30. I do charity work and am good to my neighbors. That is enough to please God.
31. I don't need to go to a building to praise God.
32. Yeh, I do know The Book of Mormon is true but . . .
... and on and on.
Humm, it seems I've used some of those excuses myself at one time or another.
Until a person can grow and understand in his or her faith, it is hard to understand that going to Church is about renewing covenants with God and promising to remember the Savior and His Atonement and to keep His commandments. It is only through Him we live again after this life. It is about obedience to his commandment to meet together often and strengthen one another in faith and love. Church attendance is about worship and keeping the Sabbath Day holy. It is about spiritual rejuvenation in order to be strong enough to face life's trials and avoid Satan's enticements. It is so much more than sitting on a bench in a church building, or ticking off a box of things accomplished for the week.
I wish I'd gained this enlightenment much earlier in my life than I had. Yet, I perhaps didn't work too hard at spiritual growth at certain times in my life. We're all at different stages of spiritual growth and there are many ups and downs. What matters most is we realize we have a Heavenly Father standing over us gently and lovingly whispering, "Grow," and we are listening and doing it.