The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do good and serve beyond our own natural capacity. David A. Bednar.
As I read this quote the other day, I thought of Brigham Young. He lived his boyhood in upstate New York. He had a pair of shoes for Sunday, but that’s all. He cleared the heavily vegetated land, barefoot, one bush at a time.
As a teenager, he and his brother Lorenzo labored all day in their father’s maple tree grove, tapping the trees for syrup. That evening, they knew there was nothing in the house to eat. These boys were hungry because they had worked hard all day. Tramping through the woods on the way home, Brigham saw a robin flitting from tree to tree. He left Lorenzo to watch the bird, and he ran home for the musket. They had watery bird soup for dinner. . . When Brigham and the Saints crossed the plains, he knew what it was like to scavenger for food.
Brigham’s first wife, Miriam Works, contracted consumption. Brigham fed and dressed her and their two little girls before he left for the carpentry shop each morning. In the evening he made bread to feed his wife and little ones. . . When Brigham spoke to the women of the Church in the tabernacle and counseled them to care for their families, he knew what he was talking about.
From humble circumstances, this man became the Lion of the Lord. After Brigham joined the Church, he worked tirelessly, devoting his whole life to the Kingdom of God. He is a great example of one who served beyond all that he could ever have dreamed.
At the end of his life, he looked back as the Prophet and President of the Church, former Governor of Utah, founder of three institutions of higher learning, builder of temples, colonizer of over 350 communities from Canada to Mexico and said that all he had accomplished was the Lord’s doing. “It was the power of God . . . I could never have devised such a plan.”
The enabling power of the Atonement strengthened him to do good and serve beyond his own natural capacity. Our stewardship will not be that of establishing the Church in the west, but we will be blessed just as Brigham was to do good and serve beyond our own natural capacity if we rely on the enabling power of the Atonement.