I heard a story yesterday originally from a preacher who grew up in Detroit. He’d spent his whole life in the inner city, and when he was still young he went to visit his grandparents on their farm in northern Michigan. He heard the birds like he’d never heard them before. He saw the blue skies like he’d never seen them before. It was wonderful.
The next morning, his grandpa woke him up at 6 o’clock (he hadn’t ever seen that before either). They walked outside, and his grandpa handed him a metal pail. There was a chicken coop across the way, and his grandpa pointed to it and said, “Take this pail, and go and collect any eggs.” He did.
When he got back, his grandpa gave him a bucket of slop. “Take this and go feed the pig.” He did.
It went like this all morning, before the young boy had even eaten breakfast. Finally, his grandpa took him inside where breakfast was waiting for them. After eating his fill, he threw himself on the sofa in the living room.
“I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life, grandpa,” he said. “I think I’ll just lay here a while.”
His grandpa smiled. “Work? Them’s chores.” Then he added, “Now, we work the harvest.”
(Who else had flashbacks to that old church video, The Gift? Man, I loved that VHS collection.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about General Conference, with the general sessions coming this weekend. I anticipate that, come Sunday afternoon, I’ll be exhausted, in a way.
But that will just be the beginning. General Conference probably shouldn’t be the spiritual high point of my life for the next six months (unfortunately, there have been times where that’s been the case). Don’t misunderstand – I have no doubt that conference, like always, can be spiritually uplifting. But it is ultimately an invitation to change, to repent, to become better – to, as President Uchtdorf said last Saturday, “live the gospel joyfully.”
President Monson, in his closing remarks from the April 2014 conference, echoed an admonition that we hear often at the close of each conference:
“As we ponder the messages we have heard, may we resolve to do a little better than we have done in the past. May we be kind and loving to those who do not share our beliefs and our standards. The Savior brought to this earth a message of love and goodwill to all men and women. May we ever follow His example….
“May the Spirit we have felt during these past two days be and abide with us as we go about those things which occupy us each day, and may we ever be found doing the work of the Lord.”
What’s the message that I hear? Conference is certainly wonderful, but “them’s chores.” Be attentive to the invitations to repent and come unto Christ, because after a short breakfast respite comes the opportunity to join the “marvelous work” of the harvest (see Doctrine and Covenants 4).