Before the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River, two and a half of the tribes requested permission to stay on the east side of the river. Moses granted them permission, on the condition that they agreed to help the remaining tribes secure land on the west side of the river. (See Numbers 32.)
So, when the remaining tribes prepared to enter the promised land, Joshua reminded the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh of their obligation:
Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.
Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;
Until the Lord have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the Lord your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the Lord’s servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.Joshua 1:13-15
The fundamental principle in this instruction is this: When we enjoy peace and prosperity, we ought to help others achieve the same stability. When God gives us rest, we ought to help others obtain rest as well.
Elder Patrick Kearon gave us similar instructions with respect to the refugees among us. Notice the similarities between his words and Joshua’s:
We have found refuge. Let us come out from our safe places and share with them, from our abundance, hope for a brighter future, faith in God and in our fellowman, and love that sees beyond cultural and ideological differences to the glorious truth that we are all children of our Heavenly Father.“Refuge from the Storm,” General Conference, April 2016 (italics in original)
The prophet Alma applied this same principle to spiritual peace. He explained that many people have been sanctified, and have “entered into the rest of the Lord” (Alma 13:11-12). Those people, in turn, are called “to teach [God’s] commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest” (Alma 13:6).
And that obligation is not limited to this life. As Joseph F. Smith saw in 1918, righteous spirits in the next life do not simply enjoy a state of paradise. They labor diligently to preach to the spirits in prison, so that they can also find peace and rest. (See Doctrine and Covenants 138.)
Today, I will consider the ways that God has given me “rest.” Like the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, I will come out of my safe places and work diligently to help others find safety and peace.