What to do with your extra day

Published 6:30 am Saturday, February 29, 2020

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Beyond Valentine’s Day, this February has two other days that are well worth celebrating — Groundhog Day and Leap Day.

Our family has a long tradition of watching the movie Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray’s weatherman character, Phil Connors, lives the same day, February 2, over and over again.

Every day he wakes up, the slate is wiped clean, and no one remembers anything that happened the previous day.

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In spite of knowing that no one will remember his actions the next day, Phil goes on catching the boy falling from a tree, rescuing the city official, and putting on a spare tire for motorists with a flat.

This represents true Christian service. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior taught that anonymous service is best: “But when thou doest alms, let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth” (Matthew 6:3).

The most sublime service is offered selflessly, without fanfare or recognition. I think of those who care for family members with debilitating diseases. My grandmother cared courageously for my grandfather for many years as he became increasingly incapacitated due to Parkinson’s Disease, feeding, cleaning, and clothing him.

Another key lesson that Phil learns is the importance of incremental change, part of the repentance process. Just like Phil, we can repent, make daily adjustments and become the better person that our Heavenly Father wants us to become.

Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught, “When we choose to repent, we choose to change. We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves.”

Every four years, to align calendar and astronomical years, a day is added to our calendars – Leap Day.

If there is one thing we all crave, it is more time to do the things that matter most to us, and hopefully the things that matter most to our Heavenly Father.

In addition to caring for those in need, we can each use time to live more fully the Gospel of Jesus Christ. President Nelson taught about the ongoing nature of repentance:

“Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance. Repentance is not an event. It is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ.”

As you plan for Leap Day this year, consider the words of the hymn:

Has anyone’s burden been lighter today Because I was willing to share?

Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?

When they needed my help was I there? The promise for ministering to others in a Christlike way is simple: “Thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:4).

What will you do with your extra day?

BRENT ROBERTS is the Elders Quorum President 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 brentsroberts@hotmail.com.