We are at spiritual war. The adversary, Satan, seeks to destroy us. He seeks to make us miserable. One area the adversary is laboring dilligently regards our work ethic and related culture of gratitude and cultural awareness. All three are related, and as the paths to destruction are many and varied, the adversary would be pleased with us taking one or more of these.
One of the marks of a declining civilization and sagging culture is an overall sense of laziness. Each of us likely has countless tales of individuals in the workplace or classroom (or chapel) whose laziness and apathy knows no bounds: they seem unwilling to do much of anything, and unconcerned at the notion of accomplishing little or nothing. If honest, most of us could recount instances where we ourselves manifested an unholy laziness, an idleness which does not breed the best in individuals or families spiritually, emotionally, socially, mentally, or temporally.
A recent co-worker was lamenting over the hardship of sitting in a relatively long (by our standards) meeting. An hourly five minute break, he claimed, barely made the whole experience tolerable. I was annoyed at this attitude. After all, he was at work. Was he getting paid for self-amusement or entertainment? If only he could go back a few generations and see the sort of subsistent farming his ancestors (or mine) required to merely survive, laboring sixteen hours a day in cold, heat, etc., with no retirement plan or paid holidays. How can sitting in an air conditioned room be considered any sort of hardship?
It is a sad indicator that few people understand where we have come from, and therefore lack any sort of significant appreciation for the good in our current circumstances. There exists neither motive for improvement, nor gratitude for current blessings, nor awareness of the billions today who live literally in poverty, in the humblest of circumstances, living day-to-day and meal-to-meal. This sort of ahistorical and myopic, self-centered view on life is emblematic of our entire culture.
And it is counter to teachings of Latter-day prophets. For instance, the admonition in D&C 88:79 for all to seek knowledge:
Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home; things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations…and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms.
We could consider other examples related to gratitude and charity, to name a few others.
There are opposing forces to this over-arching laziness. Redemption continues to be possible, not just for liars, thieves, and Sabbath-breakers, but for the lazy and ignorant as well. If such poses a significant barrier to spiritual growth and progress, then we are assured that the Savior’s grace is indeed sufficient (i.e. Ether 12:27). His power is able to save and redeem us from not only external enemies, but from internal constraints which inhibit spiritual growth and development.
Scripture is full of admonitions to shake off our laziness, to awake and arise, to gird up our loins, to shake off the dust or chains which bind us, etc. Surely the Lord wants us to take this counsel to heart!