I have been weighed down today by all the things that I want to be doing in the near future, and more specifically with how many of those things conflict (time-wise) with each other. As I pondered this little frustration I thought of the doctrine:
For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; (Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-27)
As I look at my life and my schedule I start to wonder at that because it feels sometimes like I am being commanded in all things, or more accurately like I am not given any time to do any things of my own free will. Sundays are scheduled with church, but also the commandment to avoid secular work on that day, Monday through Friday are filled all day with earning a living for my family and the evenings are:
- Monday – reserved for family night
- Tuesday – reserved for the scouts (my calling, thus a command)
- Wednesday – I try to go to the temple monthly so I now have 3 evenings per month to do things of my own free will
- Thursday – monthly meeting for scouts leaves 3 more evenings per month
- Friday – I should spend some time cultivating my marriage by taking time alone with my wife but that conflicts with irregular camping trips with the scouts so that adds up to -1 evening per month.
Saturdays would appear to be my golden free time but that is often booked with the morning after a scout camp, or a Saturday church meeting. The end result is that in any given month I have possibly 5 evenings and 3 days per month do do things of my own free will – so long as I take care of my house and family, do my home teaching, and make sure I do not neglect any of my own needs (like the occasional haircut or some Elder’s Quorum project) during those same 3 days and 5 evenings.
I would begin to despair over the situation if I did not suspect that part of my problem is the stage my family is in with four young children which is a naturally time-consuming, and draining situation. Thankfully I also look up the doctrinal reference that I quoted earlier and find that there is another verse to complete the second sentence and add a third, very hopeful, sentence:
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.(Doctrine and Covenants 58:28)
I’m counting on the “nowise [losing my] reward” because I am sure that I am doing good with the time I have, even if I wish there were more available.