An awareness of our potential can energize us to action.
After preaching to an unreceptive audience in Zarahemla, the prophet Nephi was discouraged. His listeners had heard his words and seen a miracle which they could not deny. But instead of changing their minds at that point and accepting his message, they “divided hither and thither and went their ways, leaving Nephi alone, as he was standing in the midst of them” (Helaman 10:1).
I can imagine his thoughts and feelings as he slowly walked home, “being much cast down” (Helaman 10:3). I’ve done all I can do. I’ve given them everything I have. If they haven’t been convinced by what they’ve seen, then nothing will change their minds.
But his ministry wasn’t over. God spoke to him as he walked, praising him for his “unwearyingness” and promising him power. “I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works” He said (Helaman 10:5).
In response to this message, Nephi immediately went back to work. “He…did not go unto his own house, but did return unto the multitudes…and began to declare unto them the word of the Lord” (Helaman 10:12).
In December 1832, Joseph Smith was well aware of the challenges facing the church, which he described as beginning “her journey out of the wilderness.” (See section header to Doctrine and Covenants 87.) The logistical challenges associated with the migration of church members from Ohio to Missouri were significant. The criticism and even violence he had experienced were severe. As he pondered the parable of the wheat and tares, the Lord gave him an inspiring message: Even if he didn’t feel successful, he should continue to move forward, relying on the promises he had received:
Ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God.
Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.
Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen.Doctrine and Covenants 86:9-11
President Russell M. Nelson explained how this passage applies to each of us:
Strength comes when you remember that you have a divine nature, an inheritance of infinite worth. The Lord has reminded you, your children, and your grandchildren that you are lawful heirs, that you have been reserved in heaven for your specific time and place to be born, to grow and become His standard bearers and covenant people. As you walk in the Lord’s path of righteousness, you will be blessed to continue in His goodness and be a light and a savior unto His people.“Face the Future with Faith,” General Conference, April 2011
Today, I will remember the promises I have received and will look to the future with an awareness of my potential. I will trust that God will magnify my efforts as I continue doing His work.