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A Shout From The Attic: Froim Castle To Dungeon And Out Again - 6

"The wise do not need an extra day added to the week to get through what needs to be done. The prudent use the time available and apportion it according to the importance of the tasks to be done. The maxim, “If you want a job done, give it to a busy man,” is based on experience and observation,'' writes Ronnie Bray, continuing his autobiography.


While Their Companions Slept

In the early sixties when the Mormon Church in England's south-west region was still growing, it was blessed to have A Ray Curtis as mission president. President Curtis, a pleasant and avuncular man who had clergy obligations beyond his supervision and direction of full-time missionaries that encompassed responsibilities for local lay ministers and their congregations.

The Church and its local leadership was understandably immature, branches were small and predominantly furnished with recent converts not versed in the administrative policies and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although the Mormon Church had had a continuous presence in the British Isles since 1837, the outflow of members to the western gathering places of the saints to Zion had consistently depleted membership of the brightest and best who were fitted to lead the Church and assist its growth.

Members were sound in doctrine, but their knowledge of Church government and priesthood had not reached the same standard as their theological understanding. To remedy this, meetings were appointed to teach officers and teachers how best to bear their burdens. Many had converted from denominations that did not employ lay leadership, so their experience as ministers and overseers of ecclesiastical programmes was either absent or limited.

At one such meeting in rented rooms in Southampton, President Curtis dispensed information and instruction, and then fielded questions from the leaders of the surrounding district. He explained that as the Church grew, the branches must augment their inventories of programmes in order to provide appropriate experiences and support for members. As we listened, we were jarred at the realisation of how primitive our existing organisations were, and searched for ways in which we could bridge the gap between what was needed and what we had.

It was obvious that his was an invitation to high adventure, which required that we abandon the schedules of former years, fashion the future with fresh minds, and harmonise our ways to those of the Church proper.

We felt a quiver of inspiration at the prospect that the vehicle of our faith was coming to maturity after years of keeping together a few souls after the fashion we inherited from young missionaries who were inexperienced in congregational ministry.

One of our number bristled because advancing to a higher level of organisation would require more of our time than our existing calendars did, and the new demands would collide with some of his favourite diversions. Positively agitated, he leaned forward and raised his hand. The president signalled with a nod of his head that he should ask his question, which he did with undisguised directness.

“Where are we going to find the time to do all these new things?”

President Curtis, leaned towards him, grinned, and said, “We are arranging for an eight-day week!”

And that was the end of the matter. Our instructor knew the answer to questions about time because he had managed his own time since an early age, and he knew that if someone wanted to do something badly enough, then time was never the problem.

The Romans understood how to deal with time when there was much to do but time seemed limited. “If time flies,” they said, “seize the day!” Success comes to those who use their time wisely. Dr Nina Collins advised, “Cut all the rubbish out of your life.” She knew how inferior pursuits steal time from the unwitting and leaves them with worthless dross instead of life’s gold.

The wise do not need an extra day added to the week to get through what needs to be done. The prudent use the time available and apportion it according to the importance of the tasks to be done. The maxim, “If you want a job done, give it to a busy man,” is based on experience and observation.

Longfellow’s Psalm of Life provides the key to those who complain they have insufficient time to accomplish all they must do.

“The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not obtained by sudden flight.
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.”

The Germans speak thus of the indolent:

"’Morgen morgen nicht heute,’
Hören Sie, daß die faulen Leute sagen!"

Which translates as,

“‘Tomorrow, tomorrow, not today,’
Hear the lazy people say!”

Busy people have plenty of time because they accomplish what do what needs doing before attempting anything else. It is no secret that this is the secret of success, and an extra day would only confuse everyone, break the rhythm of life’s achievers, and the slothful would still be complaining that they hadn’t enough time!

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