Small and simple things prevent ‘spiritual laziness,’ Sister Reyna I. Aburto says

Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Credit: Marianne Holman Prescott
Credit: Marianne Holman Prescott
Credit: Marianne Holman Prescott
Credit: Marianne Holman Prescott
Credit: Marianne Holman Prescott
Credit: Marianne Holman Prescott

Doing small and simple things prevents a person from becoming “spiritually lazy,” said Sister Reyna I. Aburto of the Relief Society general presidency during an LDS Business College devotional on Oct. 10.

“I know that you have a busy life,” she said. “In fact, you are anxiously engaged in school, work, Church callings, helping family and friends and having a social life. I am not implying by any means that you are lazy. My desire is to plead with you not to fall into the trap of spiritual laziness, but to keep doing the ‘small and simple things’ that will get you closer to the Savior so He can bless you.”

Sister Aburto, who was called in April 2017 as the second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, shared with LDS Business College students a story about two brothers who lived many years ago and were extremely lazy.

Although the father of the young men was a hard worker who tried to teach the principle of work to his sons, the young men took every opportunity to run away from their chores.

“One day, the two brothers were, as usual, avoiding work at all costs and went to their favorite hiding place,” she said. “One of them was lying face down on the grass and the other one was lying face up, right next to him.”

All of the sudden, the brother that was looking up saw a huge plane passing in the sky for the first time ever above their small town. With excitement he told his brother to “look!”

“Without moving or even turning one inch and still lying facedown, his brother replied, ‘Lucky you that you can see it,’” Sister Aburto said.

Sister Aburto also spoke of the children of Israel who were bitten by the fiery serpents while in the desert. Many of them died, because they refused to listen to the prophet and look to be healed.

“Many of the people of Israel did not look at the serpent on the pole in order to be healed because it was such a simple thing to do that they did not believe it had power to heal them,” Sister Aburto said. “Because of unbelief or maybe because of their ‘spiritual laziness,’ they did not make even the smallest effort to look. Does this sound like the story of the two brothers? Could it also describe us when we refuse to reach up to the Savior by doing the simple things that turn our hearts to Him?”

Recognizing that during a person’s mortal existence sometimes he or she experiences tribulation and sorrow, Sister Aburto said, “we experience heart-wrenching situations, and it becomes hard to find the strength to go on. During those times, it may be difficult to believe that by reaching up to the Savior and turning our hearts to Him, He has the power to heal us.”

Other times, a person experiences periods of spiritual laziness, where he or she just goes through the motions and are not “anxiously engaged” in reaching up to God to receive help from Him.

Sister Aburto shared her experience of growing up in a different faith. She believed in God, but was in a “spiritual sleep” that prevented her from having a clear understanding of the nature of God and His love for her.

When she was 26 years old, just after she had separated from her first husband and had a three-year-old son, Sister Aburto found herself overwhelmed by fear, despair and hopelessness.

“It was then, through the light of Christ, that I received a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ,” she said. “I felt the sincere desire to join the Church and to start participating in this remarkable journey of discipleship, experiencing its ups and downs, just like everyone else. All I had to do was to desire to reach up to the Savior, to turn my heart to Him, to believe in Him and to act on that behalf.”

Sharing how her husband, Carlos, joined the Church as a boy, Sister Aburto talked about how, because of various circumstances, his family did not remain active in Church. Years later, while living in a new country and experiencing heartache, he decided he would read the Book of Mormon.

“As he started to read, something amazing happened: he could not stop,” she said. “Back then, he had two jobs and not much spare time, but instead of eating during his breaks, he continued reading the book.”

After two weeks, he finished the book, “was a new man” and returned to activity in the Church.

“In both of our cases, we were not physically lazy — we were actually busy and hardworking people — but we were going through a long period of spiritual laziness, without stretching ourselves toward God,” she said.

Recognizing there are so many things competing for one’s attention, time and heart, Sister Aburto said it can sometimes be difficult to keep one’s sight on the Lord and His gospel.

“My young friends, no matter our circumstances, we all need to draw the Savior’s power into our life at all times,” she said. “We all need to have a clear understanding of our divine nature and purpose so that each decision each of us make in life, can be guided by our desire to receive virtue and healing from the Savior.”

For that, a person needs to start with the desire to draw close to the Savior, and nurture that desire until it becomes faith and belief. Important to building faith is doing the small and simple things — prayer, focusing thoughts on the Savior in a more intentional way, studying the words of living prophets and taking the sacrament every Sunday.

“The Lord has promised that when we reach, He responds,” she said.

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