After their conversion, the sons of King Mosiah decided that they wanted to preach the gospel to their enemies. This was their idea. They weren’t told to do it. But the Lord endorsed the plan. “Let them go up,” He told Mosiah. He promised that they would have success and that He would protect them (Mosiah 28:7).
When the brother of Jared asked the Lord how to deal with the problem of light in their barges, the Lord responded, “What will ye that I should do?” (Ether 2:23).
And in 1831, after instructing some church leaders to relocate their families to Missouri, the Lord invited them to work together to create a plan: “Wherefore, let them bring their families to this land, as they shall counsel between themselves and me” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:25).
The core principle in all three of these stories is the same: We are agents, capable of making decisions and acting for ourselves. We don’t need to be micromanaged, and we shouldn’t wait to be told what to do before taking action.
Men [and women] should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.Doctrine and Covenants 58:27-28
After quoting this passage in our most recent general conference, Elder Dale G. Renlund shared the example of Bryan Stevenson, an attorney who has dedicated his career to defending the wrongly accused and has successfully obtained the release of multiple innocent death row prisoners (“Infuriating Unfairness,” General Conference, April 2021).
Like an engine getting into gear, we sometimes need to find “quick wins” in order to develop momentum to achieve bigger things. Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt has encouraged us to figure out what we can do here and now:
Personal goals, “especially short-term goals,” help you reignite your powerful faith. When you set a good goal, you are looking forward…and seeing what your Heavenly Father wants you or another to become. Then you plan and work hard to achieve it.“You Can Gather Israel!” General Conference, April 2021
President Russell M. Nelson said, “Experience with joy the righteousness you will bring to pass as you are ‘anxiously engaged in a good cause.'” (“What We Are Learning and Will Never Forget,” General Conference, April 2021).
Today I will be proactive in finding opportunities to serve. I will set and achieve short-term goals. Instead of waiting to be told what to do, I will make decisions, propose solutions, and take action.