|From Missionary Life|
The picture above is a decent representation of the last 11 weeks of my mission. Elder Nuckles and I ride our bikes a lot hence the photo of bicycles. However, notice how in that picture we aren't riding our bikes. Instead we see in this picture inverted bikes with various missing parts and tools scattered all over the place. Why you ask? Well I don't know whether or not we can attribute it to the fiery darts of the adversary, but in the last 11 weeks between the two of us we've had 1 exploding tire, 1 set of escaping handlebars, several sets of over-enthusiastic brakes, 2 sets of escaping and/or dying bearings, 1 completely worn-through tire, 1 bent crank, 1 bent spoke, 1 sheared axle, various incorrect parts purchased, and 14 flat tires. Wooo!
Elder Nuckles and I are serving in a bike area, which means bicycles are our only means of transportation (besides walking but who does that). You can imagine therefore what a problem it is to have to spend time pretending we know how be mechanics. The only thing we are actually competent enough to do is patch/replace a tube, which is good because there are so many little thorns everywhere that we get to practice multiple times a week. This past week though we'd had enough with fixing flats and decided to invest in something stronger.
Up until this point, we'd been using standard tires with standard tubes. We knew from the get-go that we'd probably get flats here and there, but clearly we had no idea of exactly how many flats that would be. Had we known how many flats we'd get and how much time would be invested in fixing them and other problems, we wouldn't have been so cheap. We thought we could get away with the bare minimum and just "be careful" (whatever that means).
Well we finally got smart and took it to the next level. We went to the bike shop and bought new innertubes with a very thick outer layer of rubber designed to be puncture-resistant. We also bought some slime-sealant to fill the tubes with so that, should a puncture actually occur, the tubes would self-seal.
Now as you can see below, the following day we reaped the fruits of our labor!
|From Missionary Life|
"O death, where is thy sting? O [thorn], where is thy victory?" (see 1 Corinthians 15:55)
Yeah. We won.
Believe it or not however there is a short gospel lesson to be learned!
Elder Nuckles and I had basic tires and tubes. They worked great and got us to where we needed to be. However, a small thorn was all it took to stop us in our tracks. One little thorn! So you'd think then that after getting flats a time or two we'd get wise and buy some thicker/stronger gear. Nope. We bought some cheap patches and got by on that. Even after getting 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 flats we still wouldn't shell out the extra work and money necessary to buy. We ignored the obvious signs that we needed to do more than the bare minimum if we wanted to be able to get around freely.
Do we do that with obedience? Heavenly Father's commandments aren't always easy to keep. Maybe we come to church, but only the first hour. Maybe we read our scriptures, but only once a week. Have any of you ever gone to bed and just skipped out on prayer because you were just 'too tired'? Untidy language, 'edgy' movies, a little crude music--none of these are too terrible, but they're things that slow us up.
IF we don't take God's commandments seriously and just do the bare minimum, THEN our Spirits are just as defenseless to sin and temptation as my bicycle tires were to those thorns.
IF we are obedient to our Heavenly Father's commandments and put in more work and effort than just the bare minimum, THEN we will build some real and solid protection against everything that will be coming our way in this life. We will have a shield of faith that will guard us and enable us to continue unhindered on our journey back to our Father in Heaven.
So, put in that extra time and effort to prepare yourself for the 'thorns' in life. I promise that it'll be worth it!