In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior teaches a critical time-management principle using examples from nature: Birds find food without a lot of advance planning. Flowers look magnificent without focusing excessively on their own appearance. If God feeds and clothes them, then why do we dedicate so much time and energy to things outside of our control? The Savior concludes with the following admonition:
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.Matthew 6:33, 3 Nephi 13:33
For a practical application of this principle, consider Warren Cowdery, the older brother of Oliver Cowdery. Unlike Oliver, Warren was well-established by 1830: married with eight children, successful in business, and living in the first brick house in his community. Although he was aware of Oliver’s experiences, Warren didn’t adopt his brother’s faith until about four years later.
In a letter to his brother written September 1, 1834, Warren worried about the resilience of his faith and the faith of church members in his community. “I have a thousand times wished I could have that evidence which you have had,” he wrote. Warren pleaded with Oliver to send a church leader to live in his city, “such an one as would be likely to do us good, by strengthening and building us up in the most holy faith” (published in Evening and Morning Star, Sept. 1834, 189).
Instead of sending a church leader, the Lord selected Warren to be that church leader. In a revelation received by Joseph Smith on November 25, the Lord assigned Warren:
…to preach my everlasting gospel, and lift up his voice and warn the people, not only in his own place, but in the adjoining counties;
And devote his whole time to this high and holy calling, which I now give unto him, seeking diligently the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and all things necessary shall be added thereunto; for the laborer is worthy of his hire.Doctrine and Covenants 106:2-3
Warren must have felt completely incapable of fulfilling this assignment, but he accepted it and served faithfully for about a year, before immigrating to Kirtland, Ohio. By overcoming his own self-consciousness and focusing his attention on the work he had been called to do, he invited God’s blessings into his life. (See “Warren Cowdery,” Revelations in Context, churchofjesuschrist.org.)
Today, I will focus on the work I need to do, trusting that God can and will provide “all things necessary” to help me be successful.