The Fruits of Obedience


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Richard G. Scott

"....I will point out some of the fruits of obedience that have or will assuredly come to you because of your determination to obey the Lord under all circumstances.

One is peace, peace in a world where that word is hardly understood, let alone experienced.  When all the challenges pour down on you, you will have a quiet inner feeling of support.  You will be prompted to know what to do.  You can live in a world of turmoil and great challenge and be at peace.

A second fruit is integrity.  Integrity is the hallmark of a righteous man or woman.  It is the root of trust.  It acts as cement in worthy human relationships and is the foundation of spiritual communication.  Oh, how the world suffers today because of dwindling integrity.  Within your sphere of influence you can build on the bulwark of your integrity.

Discipline is another fruit you harvest through obedience.  To be disciplined is to provide order and consistency to your life.  It will permit higher priority matters to rule over those that are of lesser consequence. 

Righteous discipline is the backbone of noble character.  Your discipline will help you to consistently make correct choices in the use of your time and will facilitate the proper use of your agency.  Self-discipline negates the need for forced discipline.

One of the most self-disciplined men I know is Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve.  Recently, during a missionary meeting in Nicaragua, he was asked by one of the elders what were some of the principle messages of the April general conference. 

Drawing from his meticulously disciplined mind, he began with President Hunter and summarized in order the content of the messages of each member of the Twelve and the counselors in the First Presidency.  Would a disciplined mind like that help you as a student?  His was not a gift.  He has worked conscientiously to discipline his mind.

Another fruit is the capacity to work and to receive the joy that comes from productive work.  President Hinckley once said to a group of missionaries, "The great accomplishments of the world are not reached by extraordinary individuals, but by common souls that work in an extraordinary way."

I was in a mission president's seminar where one of the Brethren stood to introduce the next speaker.  He said,  "I can present him with three words--work, work, work."

Humbly, Elder Spencer W. Kimball stood and said,  "Oh, I know some of the Brethren say I work long hours, but I have to because I'm such a dull blade." His combination of great capacity and devoted, consistent hard work yielded a bounteous harvest of worthwhile results that continue to bless profoundly many lives throughout the world.

He once shared this precious counsel concerning both discipline and work with a group of missionaries.  One missionary had said, "I don't like to work.  I don't like to tract." This great leader responded:

Oh, is that so? I thought every missionary just loved to tract....Didn't you know that the worthwhile things of life are not the things... you . . . want to do, they are the things you ought to do because they are right. 

Did you just love to study everything that was assigned at the University? ... Isn't there anything in the world you do because you ought to do it? . . . My goodness, my boy, you're headed for a total loss if you are only doing things you want to do.  Then Elder Kimball shared an experience from his early life.  He said,

I wanted to go on a mission.  I was scared to death, a little fellow coming from a country district.

I wondered if I could do it.  I was quite sure I would have difficulty and yet I began to . . . remember specific friends that had done it.  I thought, I can play basketball better than they can, maybe I can do it.  At any rate, I decided I wanted to go on a mission as I had been taught all my life.

I pause here to emphasize this great secret in his life so you may use it to bless your own.  He made up his mind only once to resolve a particular challenge.  From then on he used his energy to keep the resolve, not to reanalyze it repeatedly under every new circumstance.

Elder Kimball continued:

So when I got near the end of my high school, I went to Globe, Arizona, to get a job so I could begin to save money, because ... my father was having a little problem with a large family to support.  I had earned money for my school for my last ... three years, and then I earned it for my mission.

He then described how he raised a black colt to become a handsome stallion.  He sold it, putting every penny into his mission account.  He then described his work at the dairy.

I found that the work at the dairy wasn't easy.  I didn't like it.  I would milk the cows and then go in and do the washing of the cans and bottles.  We would use scalding water when our fingers would get somewhat used to it.  Then when I would go out to milk the cows the next time, my fingers would crack and bleed.

I went ... to the Globe Ward every Sunday night.  I would walk about two miles down the railroad to get there.  I would hold up my hands above my head as we walked so that the weight of the blood in my fingers wouldn't crucify me. It hurt terribly... I guess people thought I was giving up, but... I wasn't surrendering, I was just on my way.

So my fingers bled every day, but every night I went back and milked ... somewhere between twenty and twenty-eight cows ... every night and every morning with my hands, not with machines.  In between, we would turn the cows into the field, and we took a square-pointed shovel, and you know what we did with that shovel, we cleaned up after the cows.... It was about the filthiest job I ever had, but I had to do it ... it was part of my job.

So then Elder Kimball said to this boy:

So you don't like to tract.  Well, for heaven's sake, what do you like to do that will pay dividends? Think about that ... If tracting is hard and other visits are hard and teaching the gospel is hard, and study is hard, so what? It pays big dividends.

Hard work is the secret of happiness, as well as of success.  Working hard in your studies is important.  Serving in the Church and with your friends is vital.  Get up early and work hard through the day.

Another fruit of your resolve to be obedient is to be demanding of yourself and to be charitable to others, to look for personal improvements that are required and be forgiving with those around you.  You will develop a love of service, of giving, of reaching out.  Your first thought will not be of yourself as is so common in the world today, but of others around you.

Consider this example of the blessings that flow from giving of yourself.  I know of a young man who came to BYU after having skipped his senior year at high school.  He was younger than usual.  You can understand why his parents were concerned. 

In the dorm there were returned missionaries and young men who had resolved to go on missions.  They spent the early hours of the morning and late hours of the evening talking together, reviewing the teachings of the Savior, singing hymns.  They served one in need.  His life will never be the same nor will ours, for he is our missionary son.

Many of you here have made the decision to be missionaries.  You will bring back to this campus an influence and power that is most helpful.  Others of you--I hope all of you, men and women alike--will prayerfully consider a mission.  It was the turning point of my life.  All that I treasure began to mature in the mission field.

You who have filled worthy missions can help others have that sacred, edifying experience.  Explain to those who are undecided some of the harvest of blessings you have tasted because of your mission: the joy of service; an appreciation for integrity, discipline, and hard work; the value of worthy companionships; the strength and peace from prayer; the power of love; the ability to act on faith; a heightened capacity to discern the promptings of the Spirit; and a love for the Savior and appreciation for his atonement.

Other fruits you will receive when needed are inspiration to know what to do and the power or capacity to do it." . . . .

(Excerpt from Elder Richard  G. Scott's Fireside Address at BYU, June 3, 1990)