6 And it came to pass that we did pitch our tents by the seashore; and notwithstanding we had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore; and we called the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit.
7 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land of Bountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord.
8 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.
(1 Nephi 17:6-8)
The land of Bountiful sounds pretty good. Especially after the hardships the family had endured during eight years in the wilderness, this haven by the sea with plenty of fruit must have seemed like paradise. I can imagine family members saying, “Why can’t this be our promised land?” And the Lord did allow them to set up camp and take some time to recover. But after the family had been there for “many days,” the Lord communicated to Nephi that He had bigger things in store and that the family was to continue their journey by sea.
Sometimes, we reach a plateau and feel like we’ve arrived at our destination. But our Heavenly Father, who knows all things, can see that we are only partway there. It’s okay to take a break when needed, to rest and to recover, particularly when we’ve passed through a rough portion of the journey. But we would be wise to keep our vision focused on the future, on the true “promised land” which is our final destination, and not to get too comfortable as we achieve milestones along the way, however enjoyable each of them may be. We will never reach our destination unless we are willing to continue as we started, leaving our comfort zone and tackling each new challenge with faith and with courage.
As President Henry B. Eyring has taught:
The better and the longer you serve, the more likely that the tempter can place this lie in your mind: “You have earned a rest.” You may have been the Primary president in your little branch twice. Or you may have worked long and hard on your mission and sacrificed so much to serve. Or perhaps you were the pioneer in the Church where you live. The thought may come: “Why not leave the service to the new people. I have done my part….”
It is hard to know when we have done enough for the Atonement to change our natures and so qualify us for eternal life. And we don’t know how many days we will have to give the service necessary for that mighty change to come. But we know that we will have days enough if only we don’t waste them (“This Day,” General Conference, April 2007).
Today, I will enjoy the journey. I will remember that, while achieving intermediate goals can be satisfying and rewarding, I must not stop laboring until I have achieved the final goal.