The Right to Inspiration
Several years ago, I was acting as a Scout leader, and took a group of boys from Provo, Utah, to a sunny beach in California. As the boys went in for a swim, I decided to keep my eye on them and elected to stay in my street clothes rather than changing into swim trunks. Since we had just arrived, I hadn’t bothered to change my watch from Mountain to Pacific Time, and, it was then my practice to keep my watch ten minutes fast so that I wouldn’t be late for some of my meetings. After a short time, a swimmer, not of our group, seeing that I was dressed and wearing a watch, walked up to me and asked me the time. As I checked my watch and took a moment or two extra to figure the hour and ten minutes difference—he looked at me—raised one eyebrow, and walked away.
Each of us has a right to inspiration whether you are a Scout leader, or whether you serve in any other leadership capacity. There are times in our lives when we reach very critical points; when we must reach beyond our own self-imposed limitations and ask for something well beyond.
Let me cite a personal incident that occurred some years ago and is still very fresh in my mind because it left such a lasting and profound impression. I was serving as a High Councilman in the LDS Provo, Utah Central Stake, prior to a major stake conference. I was told by our Stake President, President Thomas, that I had the assignment to be one of two speakers, another sister and myself, who would both give short talks, while Boyd K. Packer, from the Council of the Twelve would be the main speaker. As prominent as he is, I knew the stake center would be absolutely packed to capacity. My assignment was for a five-minute talk! These short talks are without doubt the most difficult. The assignment was given on Saturday. I had just one week to prepare.
My every available moment that next week was spent in earnest preparation. My employment at that time was in Salt Lake City, so I was commuting to and from Provo, about a one-hour’s drive each way. Since I was alone, coming and going I rehearsed and changed, and changed and rehearsed, trying to develop the talk I would give.
Friday night came, and as I sat in my study making my final preparations, I suddenly became aware that the talk I had spent all week long preparing was not the talk I would give the next night. This was frightening. Here it was, the day before the night I was to deliver the talk and I felt that I had no talk to give. And, I had only one day to prepare. For me writing is extremely difficult. I have written and rewritten some materials as many as seventy-five times in the foreword of a book I published. There that evening, I felt that I had done all that I could possibly do to prepare. I had worked diligently and conscientiously to develop my material. And now…a hollow feeling filled my stomach. At that moment I felt that I had only one recourse. This was the time when I must pray, very fervently. And fervently I did for several minutes.
Then, a warm calm came over me and I proceeded to take up my ballpoint pen and placed my yellow legal pad directly in front of me, and I began to write. Clearly in my mind I listened to and recognized the voice of Bruce R. McConkie of the Council of the Twelve dictating to me. He proceeded for some minutes, not too fast, just a steady pace until he had dictated to me my entire talk. His material completely filled two and a half legal pages.
Very taken by the moment, I then carefully read back through it. I made only two changes and they were only punctuation marks. I needed to know how long it was, so I read it aloud to time it— five minutes and 1/10 of a second. I was completely overwhelmed. I had never experienced anything like that before in my entire lifetime.
Excited by the moment, I came upstairs from my basement study and told my experience to my wife. It was a very personal revelation. She said, ” Well, you deserved it. You worked for it.”
The next evening I gave that talk just as it had been given to me. The most interesting part about this was the fact that later as I checked on it, I found out that the suggested material outline for all the stake conferences for that time had been prepared by Bruce R. McConkie.
Numerous times since then I have reflected upon this very personal incident. It changed my life. I doubt that I will ever have another quite like it. This type of incident may never happen to you—but to me it proves the very important point that you and I have the right to inspiration in our personal lives, particularly in our responsibilities towards others.
The key, I believe, is that we must first of all do ALL that we can do to accomplish the intended purposes. When we have done that, we have fulfilled our part of the responsibility. Not until!
And when we have done that, with sincerity and diligence, we have earned the right to ask, keeping ourselves in tune with the spirit of revelation.
This principle of inspiration can be applied to family, church, Scouting, your job, education—any portion of your life.
Author: Dave Olpin | HOBY, Community Submission