The other day I was having a conversation with my daughter about the importance of not being compelled in all things. I was explaining to her how it is better to act and show some initiative and do what she knows she should be doing rather than waiting to be told to do her chores. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the next day she not only did her chores without complaint but also offered to do her sisters chores that night as well. I can only hope that this continues.
Often we get lazy and don’t want to commit to the tasks that we know we should. We will often procrastinate things we do not want to do till it is to late. While having this discussion with my daughter I explained to her what the lord has said concerning this matter. Doctrine and covenants section 58:26 states
I took the time to explain to her that even if she does her chores she gets no reward if she does them unwillingly and while complaining about doing it. If she becomes angry and bitter over doing her chores she will not get any reward even if she still does them. On the other hand if she does her chores willingly she will be rewarded even if we have to ask her first, but her reward will be greater if she does them without being asked.
God has promised us blessing for obeying his commandments however there is a condition to those blessings. We are not just required to obey his law to get the blessings but we must also be willing to do them and not be compelled or nagged to keep his commandments. If we don’t keep the commandments until we are compelled to do so we will not be eligible for the blessings of doing so. We are in effect not a wise servant but slothful as the scriptures explain. We get no reward even if we do the work asked if we must be nagged or made to do the work. As a father this can be frustrating at times when the kids wait till they are compelled to do the work, I can only imagine how God must feel with so many children who are learning the hard way.
We have been warned what the consequences of being a slothful servant are. “But he that adoeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with bdoubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is cdamned.” (D & C 58:29)
God has asked us to keep the commandments and explained what he expects of us. But this does not apply just to the gospel but all aspects of our lives. We are servants to all mankind and God. As mosiah 2:17 teaches us “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
God has told us plainly that “men should be aanxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;” (D & C 58:27). We have been given our free agency. “For the power is in them, wherein they are aagents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their breward.” (D & C 58:28). We have been told that if we use our power for good to bless others we will not loose our reward. We are agents unto ourselves meaning we have the ability to choose how we will act, respond and behave towards God, our peers and other whom we associate with. Are we using this power of agency for good or evil?
This idea of being a wicked and slothful servant goes beyond just serving God and others. Are we slothful servants to our employers? When we go to work do we do the minimum that is required of us or do we go out of our way to do the best job we can? Do our employers have to compel us to do our jobs?
There are consequences for being slothful servants in our secular roles. If we fail to meet our employers expectations we can lose our jobs and the income that comes from them. Getting fired won’t look good on a resume and makes it very difficult to find another job. This in turn has ramifications in being able to provide for our families. Even if we don’t get fired we won’t receive blessings in our employment such as more flexible time off, raises, promotions. You won’t be trusted with tasks and jobs that would be given to others. You won’t have the trust of your employer. He may ask you for doctors notes if you call in sick regularly for example while others who almost never call in sick never get questioned when they do.
This works the same way with the Gospel of Christ. If we are slothful in our service to God and others we will not be eligible for the blessings God has in store for us. Doctrine and covenants 58:32 states “I command and men aobey not; I brevoke and they receive not the blessing.” We won’t be kicked out of “fired” from the church necessarily unless our disobedience to the commandments is of a extremely severe nature, and after we have been compelled still refuse to repent. The Lord gives further warning of the consequences of not keeping his commandments and doing what is expected of us. Doctrine and Covenants 58:33 “Then they asay in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their breward lurketh cbeneath, and not from above.” The implication is quite clear. Failure to fulfill what is expected of us will result not in eternal salvation but damnation.
Harold B Lee said in the June 1971 ensign “in your own circle, in your own home, in your own lives, you must do all you can of your own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” In other worlds we must be freely engaging in good works and actively living the gospel of our own free will.
May we live so that we are not compelled in all things that we may achieve the reward that God has in store for us.