Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Older Couples Need to Overcome Complancency and Serve Missions

Many older and middle aged couples that I have spoken with in the LDS Church tell me that they do not have a desire to go on a mission. Many cite reasons like they would miss their children or grandchildren and do not want to miss any moments in their lives since life is too short.

Dictionary.Com defines complancency as "self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation."Others tell me they worked hard to enjoy their years of retirement and want to unwind and enjoy them. The window of opportunity for serving a mission is pretty limited and only extends up until the early 70s unless the person is extremely fit and mentally capable. For that reason I have decided that I will serve a senior couple mission somewhere in my mid to late 60s. I have about fifteen years to prepare for my mission.Serving a couples mission is entirely voluntary and no one is twisting anyone's arm to go. Most of us get set in to the patterns of our lives and do not want to go in to unknown environments. People actually resist change in any format throughout most of their lives.

I like the key that Henry B. Eyring said about overcoming complancency. I think complancency robs us of many blessings including that of bringing new people in to the gospel.Henry B. Eyring tells us that a way to overcome complancency is to serve in the church regardless of age:

"Complacency can affect even the seasoned adult. The better and the longer you serve, the more likely that the tempter can place this lie in your mind: “You have earned a rest.” You may have been the Primary president in your little branch twice. Or you may have worked long and hard on your mission and sacrificed so much to serve. Or perhaps you were the pioneer in the Church where you live. The thought may come: “Why not leave the service to the new people. I have done my part.” The temptation will be to believe that you will return to serve again, someday. The Lord can help you see the danger in taking a rest because you feel you have done enough. He helped me by letting me have a conversation with one of His aged servants. He was feeble, his body weakened by decades of faithful labor and by illness. His doctors no longer allowed him to leave his home. At his request, I reported a trip I had taken in the Lord’s service, across several nations, in dozens of meetings, and in many private interviews, helping individuals and families. I told him of the gratitude people expressed to me for him and his many years of service. He asked me if I had another assignment soon. I told him about another long trip soon to come. He surprised me, and he gave me an inoculation against complacency which I hope will last forever, when he grabbed my arm and said, “Oh, please, take me with you.” (Henry B. Eyring, “This Day,” Ensign, May 2007, 89-90).

I wonder how many people fail to serve a mission because of complancency? Complancency seems to be equal to maintaining the status quo. Maybe we need to have a higher expectation that older physically fit couples who are financially able should serve a mission. Since missionary work is a priesthood responsibility maybe some us old dudes in the high priest quorums should try going on a mission or two. We could then change the status quo so that every worthy couple available would serve a mission. Then we could become complancent having served a mission or two or ten.

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