There’s No Upside...
NOTE: If you are interested in Michael’s business inspection related blog, then click on Bloggers in the left column and select Michael - Inspector.
Finish With Your Torch Still Lit
I am as guilty as the next person of starting something new and then stopping before I finish the task. The dog in this blog's cover photo portrays me in many of my past endeavors. Fortunately, I have the drive to finish the majority of tasks I start, but there are many more that I need to renew my resolve and finish strongly what I have originally started. I have learned that my Heavenly Father has a great love and patience for me and he encourages me to get back up when I fall and He helps to give me the love and encouragement to finish strongly what I have started... All I have to do is ask for his help.
On this coming Wednesday we get to watch our youngest son Aaron compete in the Utah State finals for Cross Country racing. Aaron is a senior in high school and this is an important season ending race held at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. Aaron is amazing in that he can run, and run, and then run some more. If I was putting together a long distance racing team, then Aaron would be my first choice in the schoolyard selection process. When it comes to running, Aaron can do what I never dreamed and his level of endurance and devotion to the task is incredible. Aaron may not cross the finish line first this coming Wednesday, but he will cross the finish line having given it his very best... And he will finish strong!
I was preparing my home teaching lesson today for the two families I get to visit later this afternoon and the monthly LDS Church First Presidency's message really hit home. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf shared...
First Presidency Message
Finish with Your Torch Still Lit
By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf - Second Counselor in the First Presidency
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
In ancient Greece, runners competed in a relay race called a lampadedromia. In the race, runners held a torch in their hand and passed it on to the next runner until the final member of the team crossed the finish line.
The prize wasn’t awarded to the team that ran fastest—it was awarded to the first team to reach the finish line with its torch still lit.
There is a profound lesson here, one taught by prophets ancient and modern: while it is important to start the race, it is even more important that we finish with our torch still lit.
Solomon Started Strong
The great King Solomon is an example of someone who started strong. When he was young, he “loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father” (1 Kings 3:3). God was pleased with him and said, “Ask what I shall give thee” (1 Kings 3:5).
Instead of asking for riches or a long life, Solomon asked for “an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad” (1 Kings 3:9).
This pleased the Lord so much that He blessed Solomon not only with wisdom but also with wealth beyond measure and a long life.
Though Solomon was indeed very wise and did many great things, he did not finish strong. Sadly, later in his life, “Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord” (1 Kings 11:6).
Finishing Our Own Race
How many times have we started something and not finished? Diets? Exercise programs? Commitments to read the scriptures daily? Decisions to be better disciples of Jesus Christ?
How often do we make resolutions in January and pursue them with red-hot determination for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months only to find that by October, the flame of our commitment is little more than cold ash?
One day I ran across a funny picture of a dog lying next to a piece of paper he had shredded. It read, “Certificate of Dog-Obedience Training.”
We are like that sometimes.
We have good intentions; we start strong; we want to be our best self. But in the end we leave our resolutions shredded, discarded, and forgotten.
It’s human nature to stumble, fail, and sometimes want to drop out of the race. But as disciples of Jesus Christ, we have committed not only to begin the race but also to finish it—and finish it with our torch still burning brightly. The Savior promised His disciples, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).
Let me paraphrase what the Savior has promised in our day: If we keep His commandments and finish with our torch still lit, we will have eternal life, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God (see D&C 14:7; see also 2 Nephi 31:20).
The Light That Never Dies
Sometimes after stumbling, failing, or even giving up, we get discouraged and believe our light has gone out and our race is lost. But I testify that the Light of Christ cannot be extinguished. It shines in the darkest night and will relight our hearts if only we incline our hearts to Him (see 1 Kings 8:58).
No matter how often or how far we fall, the Light of Christ ever burns brightly. And even in the deepest night, if we but step toward Him, His light will consume the shadows and reignite our souls.
As long as we continue to rise up and move toward our Savior, we win the race with our torches burning brightly.
For the torch is not about us or about what we do.
It is about the Savior of the world.
And that is a Light that can never be dimmed. It is a Light that swallows the darkness, heals our wounds, and blazes even in the midst of the deepest sorrow and unfathomable darkness.
It is a Light that surpasses understanding.
May each of us finish the path we have begun. And with the help of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, we will finish joyfully and with our torches still lit.
If your light has dimmed, or been extinguished, I encourage you to not give up. Step towards Him and his love will engulf your soul.
Make it a great day!
Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah