“He’s a hard worker, and he will follow the rules—as long as you remind him constantly and give him occasional severe warnings.” That’s not exactly a resounding endorsement, but it’s pretty much the characterization of the Nephites provided by Enos and by his son Jarom.
I love very long sentences with a punchline at the end. Enos provides one of these in his description of his people:
And there was nothing
save it was exceeding harshness,
preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions,
and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God,
and all these things—
stirring them up continually
to keep them in the fear of the Lord.
I say there was nothing short of these things,
and exceedingly great plainness of speech,
would keep them from going down speedily to destruction.
And after this manner do I write concerning them.
And here is Jarom’s description:
Behold, it is expedient that much should be done among this people,
because of the hardness of their hearts,
and the deafness of their ears,
and the blindness of their minds,
and the stiffness of their necks….
Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently,
exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence;
teaching the law of Moses,
and the intent for which it was given;
persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah,
and believe in him to come as though he already was.
And after this manner did they teach them.
And it came to pass that by so doing
they kept them from being destroyed upon the face of the land;
for they did prick their hearts with the word,
continually stirring them up unto repentance.
(Jarom 1:3, 11-12)
There is a limit to how much responsibility you can take on if you have to be continually reminded to do your duty. We’ve all had experiences where a leader or a peer—or even a subordinate—reminded us to do something that we should have known to do on our own. It happens, but it’s important not to let that become a habit. We need to learn from those experiences and do the right thing proactively the next time. We want to be trusted, and we earn that trust by fulfilling our responsibilities with minimal supervision.
Today, I will recommit to be faithful in fulfilling my duties at home, at work, and at church. I will not allow myself to fall into the trap the Nephites were in at the time of Enos and Jarom, relying on others to serve as my conscience, unable to discipline myself, needing constant reminders to do what is right.