27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
If you’re going to run a marathon, you need to pace yourself. This is the principle King Benjamin is teaching this group of new converts: in your enthusiasm to follow the path of righteousness, don’t overextend yourself and burn out. Steady and consistent progress along the path will be far more productive than short spurts of intense activity followed by long periods of recovery.
As a counterbalance to this counsel, Benjamin reminds them of the importance of diligence. You’ll never finish the marathon at a sprinter’s pace, but you’ll also never finish if you are standing still. A sustainable level of effort is the goal.
Incidentally, when Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon, the Lord gave him the same dual counsel: don’t run faster than you can, but do work hard (D&C 10:4).
Inherent in this counsel is a need to understand our limitations. Benjamin is teaching us that disciples of Christ need to organize themselves. True discipleship requires self-management.
Today, I will pace myself. I will acknowledge that my desire to do good dramatically exceeds my resources, and I will avoid overcommitting. Additionally, I will make sure I am working hard and moving toward righteous goals in a sustainable and orderly way.