Let me tell you about a young man. I'll call him Raymond. Even though this incident happened in his teen years, it applies to any one of us, even as adults, in teaching us to rely on the Lord.
When he was eleven, Raymond obtained a paper route and really began to prosper. He was still delivering papers at age sixteen. One day, the manager of the newspaper, an inactive adult member of the Church, came in and said, "Raymond, you have been so loyal and done so well in selling subscriptions that I'm going to appoint you assistant manager of circulation of this newspaper. In your duties you'll supervise the other paper boys and teach them how to sell subscriptions. After school, after finishing your route, you'll be able to come to the office to work two or three hours. You'll be able to do some homework while you're waiting to answer complaints on the phone. All in all, it will be a great job for you. And by the way, your pay will be tripled."
The young man was delighted. He wanted to go on a mission and was saving money from his route to prepare for that day. This job would simply accelerate the process. He counted his blessings for the ideal job at a time when many teenagers had no work.
He said to himself, over and over again, "My, the Lord blesses one who keeps the commandments." He wanted to glorify the Lord in that he had always paid his tithing, kept the Sabbath day holy, and honored his priesthood. He also felt he was being blessed for resisting the pressure to study on Sunday.
A successful year and a half went by and one Saturday, George, the newspaper manager, came to him and said, "You know, Raymond, one week from now we're going to begin delivering the Sunday paper. You will not only have your Sunday route to deliver early in the morning, but you'll have to stay in the office from about 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. You'll also receive a thirty percent increase in pay."
Raymond's countenance immediately fell. The manager quickly added, "I know you're a Mormon, and you may, by chance, be thinking of not doing this extra job beyond your route. If you don't take the job, you'll not only lose the opportunity to earn more money on Sunday, but you'll also lose your paper route and be fired from your weekday job as well. There are many of my other paper boys who would give their right arm to have your job."
As Raymond went home on his bicycle that day, he was very despondent. He prayed over and over. "How could this be, Heavenly Father? I have kept the commandments. I've tried to do what is right. I'm trying to go on a mission. Now I may lose my job. Shall I work this added job on Sunday or not?" He very emotionally explained the problem to his father, who gave him the correct answer when he said, "I don't know the answer, but I know someone who does," meaning the Lord. In a great teaching moment he put the burden back on Raymond.
Raymond struggled with the problem. He talked to his bishop. He told him about the same thing his father had told him. He learned that there were sacrament meetings being held in other wards in the afternoon that he could attend if he decided to work. He prayed and struggled with the problem two full days.
Tuesday, when asked for a decision by George, the manager, Raymond said with great emotion, "I love my job and my route, but I cannot work on Sunday, thereby missing all of my meetings and working throughout the Sabbath day. It's not right!"
George said emphatically and angrily, "You're fired! Come in Saturday to pick up your last check! Did you hear me? You're fired! There are scores of young men who would be glad to have a job like this. You're a very ungrateful young man!" And he stomped out of the office.
The next three or four days were hard for Raymond. The manager hardly spoke to him. He really wondered if he had decided correctly. He thought to himself. "There are many who have to work on Sunday, because of their employment. Shouldn't I?" But the answer seemed to be the same: "There may be some who have to work on Sunday, but you don't have to and should not."
Saturday morning finally arrived and Raymond went in to pick up his last check. As he walked into the office somewhat downtrodden, George was waiting for him. He grabbed the boy by the arm and took him to a nearby room, perhaps for privacy, and said, "Raymond, please forgive me. I was wrong. I ought not to have tried to make you break the commandments of the Lord. I have found another young man of another faith who is willing to do the extra work on Sunday. You can keep your job. Will you?"
With a heart full of thankfulness, Raymond answered. "Yes."
The manager then added, "You'll find the extra thirty percent I was going to pay you for the extra work on Sunday included in your paycheck this week, and also in your future paychecks, as long as you continue working for me."
What great joy Raymond felt in his heart as he went home that afternoon, saying again and again to himself, "It is worth it to keep the commandments of the Lord. The Lord will always provide for his own." What joy Raymond felt a year later to see his manager in the congregation when he gave his final talk preparatory to leaving for his mission.
What greater joy, a few months ago, after 26 years, to find Raymond talking with George on the phone, learning that he's active, faithful, strong in the Church, and is a high priest group leader in his ward in another state.
Gene R. Cook: (excerpt taken from BYU Speeches, 1983-84)