…I knew that if we were going to live with ourselves on the terms that we wanted, we’d have to pay a price…And we’ve paid a price every day since. It’s expensive…But I don’t want to live cheap, or live for nothing. I never have wanted that and I’ve never liked it.
The war for freedom will never really be won because the price of our freedom is constant vigilance over ourselves and over our Government.
This transaction taught me a principle I've employed many times since then-establish what something is worth to you, whether you're buying a hubcap or a large dealership, and then stick with it. If you get in a bidding situation you can let emotion carry you way past limits of good sense. I made what I thought was a fair offer for both the buyer and the seller, and I didn't let the guy pressure me into inflating what value I put on it.
We often, like this man and Hamlet, must "take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them" (Act 3, scene 1, ll. 59–60). And sometimes the cost is very high. It was for Christ, it was for Joseph Smith, and it was for this lone man who counted the cost there in the Potomac--and paid it. It is not easy to go without--without physical gratifications or spiritual assurances or material possessions--but sometimes we must since there is no guarantee of convenience written into our Christian covenant. We must work hard and do right, as Abraham Lincoln said, and sometimes our chance will come. And when we've tried, really tried, and waited for what seemed never to be ours, then "the angels came and ministered unto him." For that ministration in your life I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
We can't fully overcome these habits and impacted tendencies by ourselves. Our own resolves, our own will, our own effort - all this is necessary but is not sufficent. We need the transforming power of the Savior, born of faith in him and his atoning sacrifice and of entering into a contract with him. In such a contract, made in ordinance work and in private prayer, we covenant, or promise, or witness to take upon ourselves his name and to keep his commandments. He, in turn, promises us to give us his spirit, which, if we are true to our promises, will renew and strengthen and transform us. In this way we combine our power with the power of the Almighty.
Before we renew our covenants in the sacrament, before we promise or resolve to overcome a bad habit and establish a new one, we should sit down first and count the cost.
If we realistically count the costs and then make a deep enough commitment, we, with the Lord's help, can overcome the gravity pull of habits and atmospheric resistance of our environment with all its luring temptations.
How can we break bad habits and form healthy new ones? The Savior gives us insight into the process in the following magnificent parable.
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
"Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
"Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish."
(Luke 14: 28-30)
Most of us are great starters and poor finishers. We begin to "mock" at ourselves, to lose faith in our ability to keep the promises we make with ourselves.
We simply to do not sit down first and count the cost to see if we have sufficent to finish - sufficent desire, sufficient internal thrust. We try to lift off our launching pad without realistically calculating the "g's" (gravity pull) and the resistance of the atmosphere (our environment).
It is maxim of every prudent master of a family never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy…
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