One of the most common questions we’re asked is “What do you do?” We hear it from new acquaintances and we ask it as well; it tells us about the other person’s interests and life. And we’re correct when we answer with our job or profession. But let’s pretend, for a moment, that you could ask it of Heavenly Father. What would be the response of the Supreme Creator and most powerful individual in the universe? He’d probably tell you with words you’ve actually heard before.
If I asked 95 % of you to finish this sentence, “This is my work and my glory” you would all say, “to bring to pass the immortality and the eternal life of man.” It’s Moses 1:39, a scripture mastery verse most of us know by heart. And it pretty well sums up what God does. Everything he does has that central purpose, that final aimto get us home and exalt us.
We hear about his Work and Glory all the timein Conference talks, Sunday School lessons, and Ensign articles. They all explain to us how devoted God is to this purposewe are his children and have potential beyond our wildest dreams. When we return with honor, we will give God joy beyond measure. The grand plan we all accepted in the premortal world, before coming here to be born as mortal infants, included this magnificent, ultimate goal.
But I’ve never heard it said that our main profession, our “work,” should be the same as God’s, that the thing we most want to do when we get up in the morning, is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” We’re told to gather sheep, be good missionaries, save our dead, and build testimonies in those around us, but do we see it as “what we do,” or as an appendage to what we do? Is our worldly job the main thing, and these other tasks just supplemental?
I’d hesitate to make a pie chart of my day, and see the slice I give to that objective. Yet the concept shouldn’t surprise us. Didn’t Christ tell us to follow him and do what he does? I’m reluctant to use a math equation ever, much less in an article, but since I’ve already mentioned a pie chart, I guess I’m already up to my knees in the water. Wade in a little further with me. Let’s break this down logically. If God and Christ are one in purpose, then this priority is also Christ’s, not just Heavenly Father’s. If A wants Y, and B always wants what A wants, then B wants Y, too. Still with me? Both our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ want us to gain eternal life and exaltation.
Now. How many scriptures can we cite, in which Jesus tells us to be like him? Countless, right? Okay, someone out there has counted them, but the exact number doesn’t matterthe point is that Christ has admonished us over and over to have his same priorities: Think like him, feel like him, act as he would. Care about his children the same way he does. So, if Christ wants everyone to make it home and it’s his Number One Priority, and we are supposed to share that same focus, then our work and our glory must be to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Nothing should matter more to us than to save everyone else. Yet, if someone asked you “What kind of work do you do?” our profession usually comes to mind.
What if we changed our answer? What if we said, “I’m a volunteer for my church trying to share the news that Christ’s original church has been restored again, and is on the earth today. I want every person to make it to the temple. And then I also work as a secretary/engineer/mayor/nurse/doctor/etc.” Or, at least say that in our minds when the question comes up. What if we really took this admonition seriously and made it our focus instead of giving it a few hours a week? What if this goal were the way we actually define ourselves? Obviously we have to eat and put a roof over our heads. God does not expect us to quit our jobs. But the desires of our hearts can match his, even if you are a single mom with three jobs out of necessity.
Here’s something else we all know: God works through mankind to bring about his plans. When someone prays for help, their prayers are often answered through another person, right? So how does bringing to pass man’s immortality and eternal life get done? Is that supposed to happen independent of our efforts? Do we picture God doing this one solo? That wouldn’t fit the paradigm; it’s simply not how he does things. So this gigantic, sweeping purpose of God’s means he’s counting on us to be his foot soldiers. We’re supposed to be on the same team working for exactly the same goal. And what, each day, are we doing in this massive Search and Rescue mission? Are we waiting for a specific assignment, or are we self-starters who dig in and make it happen?
What if you were asked, “What in life thrills you most?” It’s another way of asking, “What is your glorywhat makes your heart sing?” Is it watching others find the truth, enter the waters of baptism, and forever devote their lives to God? We ask little children, “What’s your favorite thing to do?” and we hear them say, “Art” or “Singing” or “Playing Outside.” And it’s wonderful to see them enjoying life, but maybe we need to help them have experiences sharing the gospel, so that “telling my friends about Jesus” can make it onto the hobby list, too.
Like I said, I’ve done what I think many of us doI’ve allowed the daily grind to take over, as temporal concerns have eaten up the lion’s share of my time. Gathering and Kingdom Building are on the list, they just haven’t dominated it every day. But they dominate God’s list. And Christ’s list. And they need to dominate ours.
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sjacMay 31, 2014
Very good article. I cross referenced Moses 1:39 with D&C 11:20. But this article is also spot on. Thanx.
Ladelle CookMay 29, 2014
This is God's work - Moses 1:39 This is your work - D&C 11:20