“Nurturing Our Spiritual Growth: The Labor of a Lifetime,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 71
Near the shores of Galilee, the Savior fed a vast multitude with five loaves of bread and two small fishes. The next day, some of the people who had witnessed this miracle sought out the Savior at Capernaum. The Savior observed that they had sought him not because his loving miracle had filled their spiritual need but because the bread had satisfied their physical hunger. Then he advised them: “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27).
We spend much of our time and energy working for the food and other resources we need to sustain our physical lives. Jesus’ words remind us that sustaining our spiritual lives also requires work. It is a labor that requires planning, practice, and perseverance. And for each individual, it is the labor of a lifetime.
Most great works begin with a plan. With personal effort and prayer, each of us can find ways to nurture our spiritual growth that fit our own circumstances.
Sister Sharlene Aland of Sacramento, California, divides her time among a demanding job, Church callings, and caring for a chronically ill sister. “I never seemed to find time to read Church magazines and do other things I wanted to do,” she recalls. Then her stake president challenged each member of the stake to hold family home evening every Monday. “I realized that even though I live alone, I need to provide myself with the same opportunities for spiritual growth that I would provide for a family.” Since then, Sister Aland has spent at least an hour every Monday night nurturing her spiritual growth. “I’ve held that time sacred. Sometimes I’ve read the Church magazines and Church books. Other times I’ve worked on food storage or watched Church videos. Doing this has given me the time I was always looking for.”
What can you do to have a regular time to nurture your spiritual growth?
The nurturing of our spiritual growth is an ongoing process. We often experience spiritual moments as we pray and read the scriptures, but a sincere desire and continual personal effort are required to sustain spiritual growth.
One way to revitalize our spirituality is to unselfishly serve others. At the same time, the recipient of that love will also be spiritually fed. A young mother from Bountiful, Utah, recalls how the spiritual sensitivity of a special sister in her ward helped her through a very difficult time in her life. “When my twin daughters were born, I didn’t know how I could possibly manage. I already had three young children—one of whom had mental and physical disabilities. Since my husband’s business took him away from home most of the week, kind friends came many days and evenings to relieve me. But one day, a dear sister came to my home at 6:30 in the morning. She stayed for several hours—long enough to help me care for the babies, straighten my house, and get the older children ready for the day. She continued to do this every day for four months. I don’t know how I could have survived without her.”
President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Wherever women … magnify their opportunities for loving service, they are learning to become more like God” (Ensign, Mar. 1976, p. 5).
How can you practice the principles of spirituality in your life?