Duty

In the poem “The Theologian’s Tale; the Legend Beautiful,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow relates a story of a monk who experiences a supernal vision in which he sees the Savior. During this experience, he hears the poor outside the gate of the convent, and he wonders whether he dares to leave the divine presence in order to minister to their needs. As he hesitates, “a voice within his breast” answers his question:

Do thy duty; that is best;

Leave unto the Lord the rest!

King Benjamin taught his sons that the afflictions we experience can “stir [us] up in remembrance of [our] duty” (Mosiah 1:17). Abinadi taught that the religious practices in the law of Moses served to keep people “in remembrance of God and their duty towards him” (Mosiah 13:30). When Alma saw inequality among his people, he gave up his government responsibilities and dedicated himself to preaching the word of God, “to stir them up in remembrance of their duty” (Alma 4:19, Alma 7:22).

At the end of a lengthy revelation specifying the responsibilities of various leadership roles in the church, the Lord concludes with the following admonition:

Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.

He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand.

Doctrine and Covenants 107:99-100

President Henry B. Eyring commented on this pattern of learning our duty and then acting with diligence:

The pattern is simple but not easy to follow. We are so easily distracted. Studying the daily news can appear more interesting than the priesthood lesson manual. Sitting down to rest can be more attractive than making appointments to visit those who need our priesthood service.

When I find myself drawn away from my priesthood duties by other interests and when my body begs for rest, I give to myself this rallying cry: “Remember Him.” The Lord is our perfect example of diligence in priesthood service. He is our captain. He called us. He goes before us. He chose us to follow Him and to bring others with us.

Act in All Diligence,” General Conference, April 2010

Today, I will do my duty. I will strive to better understand what is expected of me in my various roles, and then focus my time and energy on completing those tasks.

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