Staying ‘in the boat' of faith

Alf Gunn

A man recently recalled to me an outing on a lake with his young wife and their 2-year-old daughter in a rented row boat. Far from shore, they stopped rowing and relaxed.

Suddenly, their little toddler lifted one leg out of the boat and started to go overboard, exclaiming, “Time to get out, Daddy!”

They quickly caught her and persuaded her that they needed to stay in the boat until it was safely back to land.

Children need time to develop judgment and wisdom. Similarly, as children of our Heavenly Father, we need to grow spiritually and not “get out of the boat” before we reach our eternal destination.

Jesus told his disciples, persons who had already accepted him and been baptized, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (KJV Mark 13:13).

I understand that, from its Latin roots, the word endure signifies “to become firm within yourself.” To be “steadfast and immovable” is another scriptural phrase for spiritual maturity, such as a determination to follow Jesus Christ and try to live as He taught. Such is the basis of the Christian faith and the Christian life.

All men and women are invited to follow the example of the Son of the Living God, not only to enter into the waters of baptism as He did but, in the beautifully descriptive words of one prophet in the Book of Mormon, to “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.”

And then this prophetic promise: “Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).

Another prophet, the apostle Paul, who was a witness to the resurrected Christ, knew something about enduring to the end. He worked tirelessly to build the Lord’s kingdom, which must have seemed small in the midst of the mighty Roman Empire, until he could testify as he did at the end of his ministry: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Elder Hartman Rector, now an emeritus leader of the Latter-Day Saints, once used another sports analogy to testify that the Jesus Christ has, in our day, restored to the earth the fullness of His gospel and the authority that He gave his original apostles:

“The kingdom of God is a winner. Isn’t it great to be part of a winner? Don’t you love a winner? Some say it matters not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. Don’t you believe it; it makes a lot of difference whether you win or not. We came to this earth to win, and we will win if we stick with the Lord, because the Lord is not going to lose. He can’t lose. The kingdom is a winner, and when we do it His way, we will win with Him. The promise is sure: ‘He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved’” (The Strength of Testimony, April 1974 General Conference address).

The Lord lives and has provided the way for us to return to the safe shore of our heavenly home.

We “stay in the boat” by seeking works of righteousness, such as studying the scriptures, praying regularly, exercising faith unto repentance and following Christ in obedience, all of which brings healing forgiveness, peace of conscience and happiness.
Alf Gunn