THE WORD: ‘A season for true discipleship’

Published 9:53 am Thursday, December 6, 2018

As we barrel toward the end of another year, preparing to flip over the calendar once again, we are never more mindful of the passage of time. We reflect on the last 365 days and look forward to the new year, searching for opportunities to try again and expand our horizons even further. It seems that the season demands our attention to time: limited three-day sales, Christmas card deadlines, school events and a succession of holiday gatherings.

In a short story in the collection “Florida” by Lauren Groff, one character laments: “Time would not care if you fell out of it. It would continue on without you. It cannot see you; it has always been blind to the human and the things we do to stave it off, the taxonomies, the cleaning, the arranging, the ordering.”

It is a constant struggle to do all the things we need to do in the limited time we have, and yet God’s purposes are accomplished, each in their time. The words of Ecclesiastes ring clearly across the years, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Consider how God’s time is different in ways that we cannot comprehend. The Psalmist stated: “A thousand years in thy sight is but as yesterday” (Psalm 90:4), and Peter taught, “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years” (2 Peter 3:8).

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These may be ratios, but more likely they are attempts to express in mortal language the way our loving Father in heaven, eternal in nature, exists outside of temporal limitations. Jesus taught: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

One way to accomplish this is to rise above the day-to-day grind and passage of time. Some questions to guide such reflection include: Am I on the right path? Am I focusing on the things that matter most? Am I taking steps, such as earnestly searching the scriptures, pondering the Word of God, and praying with real intent, in order to obtain the answers promised by our Heavenly Father? Do I repent regularly and forgive freely?

At the end of the year as we mark the passage of time, let us raise our sights and pray to have our eyes opened to the needs of those around us so that we can “Strengthen … the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees” (Isaiah 35:3). Through compassionate ministering and devoted discipleship, we can daily become the tools that God uses to accomplish His eternal work. In doing so we follow in the divine footsteps of Him whose birth we commemorate, of whom it is written that He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38).

Best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!

BRENT ROBERTS is the Branch Presidency First Counselor in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at