Measure not the work
Until the day’s out and the labor done.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
The duty of which I speak is what we are expected to do and to be. It is a moral imperative summoning forth from individuals and communities that which is right, true, and honorable. Duty does not require perfection, but it does require diligence. It is not simply what is legal; it is what is virtuous. It is not reserved to the mighty or high in station but instead rests on a foundation of personal responsibility, integrity, and courage. Doing one’s duty is a manifestation of one’s faith.
President Monson said of it: “I love and cherish the noble word duty.” For members of the Church of Jesus Christ, our path of duty is keeping our covenants in daily life.
We are experiencing a serious economic downturn. You read of thousands of layoffs. This may be a difficult season for you. You worry much about your personal affairs. You worry about money. You worry about marriage. You worry about the future.
There may be some lean days ahead for some of you. There may be troubles. None of us can avoid them all. Do not despair. Do not give up. Look for the sunlight through the clouds. Opportunities will eventually open to you. I finished the University of Utah in 1932. It was the very bottom of the most serious depression of modern times. The unemployment rate in Utah was then more than 30 percent. There was much of cynicism. It was a time when men stood in soup lines, and some committed suicide in despair. But somehow we managed to eat and keep going. Opportunities gradually opened, first here and then there. In 1982, I spoke at the fiftieth anniversary of my graduating class. I met there men and women who had become prominent in many undertakings. They had begun almost in poverty. But they kept climbing upward. They had become leaders. They had looked for the positive in life, praying with faith and working with diligence.
There is a marked difference between the introspection that focuses on ‘How did I do?’ and the introspection that asks, ‘Did I do enough?’
First and most importantly, the Spirit will come into the homes of our sisters with even greater power. We can have experiences such as the Savior’s disciples had when they asked, “Did not our heart burn within us, … while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).
Second, our understanding of our relationship with Deity will increase, for it is impossible to study holy writ on a regular basis without coming to understand more clearly who we are. We will be reminded that “because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called … his daughters” (Mosiah 5:7).
Third, as mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and aunts are strengthened, families will be strengthened. As we feel the Spirit and come to see that gospel study increases our ability to receive personal revelation, we will better know how to bring up our “children in light and truth” (D&C 93:40).
Fourth, we will find solutions to our own and our families’ problems, because as we “feast upon the words of Christ,” they will tell us all things that we should do (2 Ne. 32:3). We are not alone. The Lord will guide us if we seek Him diligently.
Fifth, we will feel greater peace and strength and comfort, for the Lord has promised to be on our right hand and on our left, and He has promised that His Spirit will be in our hearts and His angels will be round about us to bear us up (see D&C 84:88).
Sixth, our testimony of the Savior and our understanding of the power of the Atonement will increase. We will “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, … that by his grace [we] may be perfect in Christ. … Then are [we] sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ” (Moro. 10:32–33).
Seventh, sisters will stay on the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father, where we may be raised to “dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness” (Alma 28:12).
As Relief Society visiting teachers study and testify of gospel truths, the cumulative outcome of this worldwide gospel study will be glorious. Through the word of the Lord, every sister, every family, and ultimately every person will be fortified.
Developing Christlike attributes can be a painful process. We need to be ready to accept direction and correction from the Lord and His servants. This worldwide conference with its music and spoken word offers spiritual power, direction, and blessings "from on high" (D&C 43:16)....
By becoming more like the Savior, we will grow in our ability to "abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost" (Romans 15:13). We will "lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better" (D&C 25:10).
God loves each of us and Jesus of Nazareth, his Only Begotten Son, came to ‘succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees’ (D&C 81:5)—bringing a divine form of worker’s compensation to those keep tugging those granite boulders into place. We are laying the foundation of a great work—our own inestimable future.