Enos wanted to preach the gospel to the Lamanites. Who were they? His cousins. They were descendants of his father’s older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, and of his father’s sisters who had married the sons of Ishmael. They were family, and Enos wanted to help them live more happily.
They had no interest in his message but he worked hard to try to convince them anyway. During his daylong prayer, he prayed “with many long strugglings” on their behalf (Enos 1:11). He said that he was worried about them because “at present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith” (Enos 1:14).
I’ve thought about that statement today, and especially about the word “strugglings.” Enos did not give up easily. He didn’t stop trying to share the gospel just because he wasn’t well-received the first time, and he didn’t stop caring about the Lamanites just because they hated him and his people.
After his prayer, Enos continued to reach out. He says that he and his people “did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed…and they were continually seeking to destroy us” (Enos 1:20).
What an image! A group of people attempting to minister to members of their extended family who hated them and wanted to kill them! Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Enos and his people lived this principle.
I’m impressed with another part of Enos’s statement. He said that their strugglings were vain “at present.” That qualifier conveys a world of meaning to me. How easy is it to judge a person based on what they are right now? Particularly when they’re difficult to get along with, how easily do we assume that they will always be that way, that they will never change? But Enos was willing to hope for a brighter future, a future in which the Lamanites would receive the blessings of salvation because of the record which he had been entrusted to protect.
Today, I will labor diligently on behalf of other people. Even people who are not easy to get along with. Even people who don’t want my help. If all I can do is pray for them, that is what I will do. I will follow Enos’s example of laboring diligently on behalf of those who need my help and looking forward with hope for better days ahead.