Principle of Work

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F. David Stanley

2,700 years ago, a Greek poet observed that "in front of excellence the immortal gods have put sweat, and long and steep is the way to it."

The principle of work has been taught from the foundation of the world.  It is the bottom line of any forward motion of success.  The frightening disappearance of work as a part of our basic ethic is alarming.  We constantly hear the statements, "It's too hard," "I want it now."  The ugly disease of "nothing to do" is growing in epidemic proportions among us.  It undermines the basic fabric of our nations.  The prophet Exekiel clearly defined iniquity as an "abundance of idleness." (Exek. 16:49.)

We are what we are as a people because our ancestors were not afraid of honest, hard work. Our forefathers understood the necessity of it; sheer survival demanded it.  A common ingredient among all successful people is an understanding of what constitutes paying the price of success....an inner grit of determination.

Great athletes are hard workers.  Victory is brought to pass by one's personal diligence and commitment to hard work.  The second mile of hard work is what makes the difference between the exhilaration of achievement and the acceptance of mediocrity.

Among the saddest of events to all mission presidents is to observe elders and sisters coming into the mission field not having learned how to work.

President Ezra Taft Benson gave us a powerful key: "One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work!....There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all [his] time and talents and interest [will be] centered on the work of the ministry.  Work, work, work--there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work."

If you want to be successful, start with the bottom line of work.  Recently, we noticed a surge in baptisms in one of our missions.  The mission president was asked the reason.  He said, "Baptisms come from hard work.  We must work smarter and much harder."

We are becoming the world experts in meeting, thinking, planning, and organizing about working the work, but we need to do it.  We need to work.

When you accept an assignment or commit to work for someone, work for them.  Your integrity to that commitment will follow you throughout life.  Any group of young men in any quorum knows who the workers are--those hallowed, quiet few who simply know how to get it done.  My friends, say less and do more.  Get it done.

I am so grateful for parents who taught me how to work.  There was no option in our home.  It was an absolute requirement.  Fathers and Mothers in Zion, you trainers of this great army of Christ, teach our youth the value of honest, hard work.  There is no substitute, no other alternative.

"The Principle of Work" - F. David Stanley - April 1993 Gen. Conf.