Friday, October 1, 2010
The Sweetness at the End
This week, it has been so hard to get to my blogging. I have been increasingly busy!! We bought several boxes of fruit that all decided to ripen at the same time! This meant that we had exactly 24 hours to get four boxes of peaches and two boxes of pears sorted, pealed, cut, and bottled so that we did not lose any of the fruit. (I really hate paying for something that yummy and than losing it because I couldn't find the time to work it). We were able to get everything done and it looks amazing. The pantry is full, and I still have to do the apples and the apple butter this month as well as some pickles. I made my first batch of bread and butter pickles and they have litterally flown off my pantry shelves. So, I received an over-abundance of cucumbers from someone else's garden and am going to make another batch this weekend. I actually love canning season. It is so fulfilling to see the shelves blossom with all the jars of produce and meat. It is wonderful when I find good recipes that make it all taste so much better than store bought canned goods.
I have decided that life can be very much like my canning projects. We go through the spring and summer of our lives. Life is good. We are busy, we are productive, we are happy. We serve, we laugh, we help, we serve some more. As time goes on, our children grow, our needs change, we have new and important things we are doing. Yet, the need for service is still there.
Can you imagine the pioneers on their trek across the United States saying, "We are done! We are tired! We have walked all this way and now we are stopping. We are not walking another step. We are not going to circle the wagons. We are not going to sing, or pray!" Of course they did not stop. They kept going onward, even as they neared the end of their journey and the trail got harder and colder and more treacherous. They did not stop putting one foot in front of the other until they reached the valley of the Great Salt Lake.
Those pioneers are forerunners to us in this day. What would they do if they were here? Do you think that they would ease into retirement and expect everyone around them to bear the burden because they have earned the chance to rest? I honestly don't think so. Our lives are like the harvest of the fruit. Some of the most important work comes at the end. Some of the things that preserve the fruits for the next generation are earned through toil, effort, and faith.
Elder William R. Bradford once said:
“Of all influences that cause men to choose wrong, selfishness is undoubtedly the strongest. Where there is selfishness, the Spirit of the Lord is absent. Talents go unshared, the needs of the poor unfulfilled, the weak unstrengthened, the ignorant untaught, and the lost unrecovered.”
For each of us, unselfishness can mean being the right person at the right time in the right place to give service. Almost every day, brings opportunities to perform unselfish acts for others. Such acts are unlimited and can be as simple as a kind word, a helping hand, or a gracious smile. May we be like the peaches and pears in a jar on my pantry shelf, ready at any moment to give that which is most sweet. May we remember that the greatest fruits come from the harvest.
The Savior reminds us, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
May we each strive today to lose ourselves in the service to others. May we truly be filled with the most sweetness at the end.