Have I done any good in the world today? If not, I have failed indeed! Then wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Climbing The Ladder

It's that time of year again. We're getting all kinds of calls to do service projects: "Elders, Brother and Sister Soandso needs some help doing [insert winter project here]. Can you help with that?"

Our response: "SURE WE CAN!"

Yes, I am an expert at this.
The other day we got a call to put up Christmas lights on a house. I thought we were just going to be putting up lights around the house like lawn decorations and such. When we got there it was revealed that we were going to have to climb a ladder to string lights along the top of a house.

As the person we were helping prepared the ladder I volunteered to go up it and string the lights. The top didn't look so far away-- it would be easy to climb up there. I was super brave until I got to the base of the ladder and looked up...

Internal monologue: "Yeah right! He expects me to climb that long and shaky ladder all the way to the top all by myself, then risk killing myself to string lights along his house? What if I fall down? What if the ladder breaks or messes up? Splat. There's the end of me. No more Elder Hill."

So reluctantly I started to climb up the ladder. I carefully watched each step I made on the way up, looking up only a few times to see if I was at the top. If I saw I wasn't at the top, I would look down and continue climbing until I was at the top. 

"Oh, great. Another death trap." 

I started climbing up the ladder again. This time though, I didn't look down. I wanted to get up that ladder the quickest I could. I put one hand in front of the other, not looking down once. I was at the top in no time. 

Then it hit me. Get this-- Pulling up and climbing forward wasn't as hard or scary as going down and crawling back. In fact, it was way easier to climb up the ladder than it was to go down it. 

Let's take a spiritual approach to this situation. Think of life as a ladder. We are always constantly moving either up or down. Sometimes we stop, but that is when we are trying to figure out where to go. 

Liken the looking down to looking back on past sins or transgressions, feelings of guilt or unworthiness, or other negative emotions. If we don't look up and see where we're going, it is a lot harder to climb life's ladders. However, if we look forward with an eye of faith, life's ladders won't be hard to climb up at all.

You could also apply this to a less active member coming back to the church. Sure, it may seem daunting at the beginning, but when you are back enjoying the peace of the gospel of Jesus Christ, won't it be worth it?

Joseph Smith said, "When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel."

Liken the ladder to the iron rod in the prophet Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon (See 1 Nephi 8). The iron rod is the word of God. If we hold onto the rod (or in this case a ladder) we will reach our end goal successfully.

Hold to the rod! Climb life's spiritual ladders-- you can do it!

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