Here the Lord counsels us on balance. Faith is vital, but it must be accompanied by the personal work appropriate to the task. Only then do we qualify for the blessing. The appropriate approach for students is to study as if everything depended upon them and then to pray and exercise faith as if everything depended upon the Lord.
Prayers and feasting upon the word of God are two elements of a heavenward attitude that will also enhance your work ethic and your willingness to serve and lift others. It will help you to carry Church responsibilities with the willingness to magnify your callings without trying to magnify yourself. With this divine attitude you will be more concerned about how you serve rather than where you serve. King Benjamin taught, "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" (Mosiah 2:17). And we do this by "lift[ing] up the hands which hang down" (Hebrews 12:12).
Brethren and sisters, be faithful, be diligent, contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints; let every man, woman and child realize the importance of the work, and act as if success depended on his individual exertion alone; let all feel an interest in it, and then consider they live in a day, the contemplation of which animated the bosoms of kings, Prophets, and righteous men thousands of years ago.
Pray as though everything depended upon God; work as though everything depended upon you.
You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.
I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.
President Thomas S. Monson and those before him have shown us the way. The path is clearly marked, and the pace is steady and strong. You, like Agnes, are being asked to cross the plains. You may not have to give up all your earthly possessions, but the journey to Zion requires that you give up all of your sins so that you may come to know Him—the true and living Christ. You may even be asked to run to the point of exhaustion, but by doing so, the warmth of the Lord’s love will preserve you for the great work yet to come.
Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility. Whatever our circumstances in life, my dear brethren, let us do the best we can and cultivate a reputation for excellence in all that we do. Let us set our minds and bodies to the glorious opportunity for work that each new day presents.
Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps the Lord just plain doesn’t care?
"In a world filled with much laboring and striving in parliaments, congresses, agencies, and corporate offices, God's extraordinary work is most often done by ordinary people in the seeming obscurity of a home and family."