Renewing our efforts

As we embark on a new year the words of a familiar hymn provide impetus to our efforts to improve our lives:

"Come, let us anew our journey pursue, Roll round with the year, And never stand still till the Master appear." (Hymns, No. 217.)The words of this hymn were composed about 1750 by an English minister, Charles Wesley. But they offer encouragement to us even today as we strive to overcome worldliness and look forward to that momentous day when the Savior will come again.

We know not when that will take place, but with each new year it surely comes closer. Wesley's message is that we should renew our efforts to prepare ourselves and never stand still.

He continues: "His adorable will let us gladly fulfill, And our talents improve By the patience of hope and the labor of love."

Oh, how we need to do the will of the Master and not yield so often to our own will.

Can we use this new year to improve the talents we have, and develop more? With patience, hope and love we most assuredly can.

Wesley also reminds us how fleeting are the moments of life: "Our life as a dream, our time as a stream Glide swiftly away, And the fugitive moment refuses to stay;

"For the arrow is flown and the moments are gone. The millennial year Presses onto our view, and eternity's here."

As the days of our lives pass so quickly we need to learn how to make better use of the minutes, hours and days that are ours. Almost without our realizing it this past year has gone. Can we account for our wise use of this time? Hopefully. But for many of us we have frittered away too much time on useless pursuits that have little eternal meaning.

It is important that we manage our time for the benefit of our families, our Church callings, and the work that we do to sustain life. Recreational and leisure activities are also important when placed in proper perspective.

Prioritizing time seems an appropriate goal for any new year, and certainly this one when the demands made on our time are sure to be heavier than ever. We must organize and structure our time so that we do not neglect those things that are most important.

Again, Wesley helps us in this regard as he affirms: "Oh, that each in the day of His coming may say, `I have fought my way thru; I have finished the work thou didst give me to do."

These words call to mind the message of Paul the Apostle to his associate Timothy shortly before Paul's martyrdom: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (II Tim. 4:6-8.)

What more glorious goal could there be than to receive from our Lord a celestial throne with its "crown of righteousness."

We may not live to see the millennial appearance of the Savior, but for each of us there is a time for the completion of our earthly work. Should that time come in this year we need to be ready, as was Paul, to affirm that we have fought a good fight and mastered mortality, that we have endured to the end of our course, and through it all have kept the faith! Then as we stand before the Righteous Judge we will be able to enjoy what Wesley envisioned.

"Oh, that each from his Lord may receive the glad word: `Well and faithfully done; Enter into my joy and sit down on my throne."

We are told in the Book of Mormon: "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

"And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed." (Alma 34:32-33.)

May this new year be a happy one because we use our time to fight the good fight and keep the faith.

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