Elder Mervyn B. Arnold spoke of the necessity of going to the rescue and searching out those in need of help. I think this talk is a very important one, because all of know people who are drifting away or struggling who could use assistance.
The interaction of two principles that he raises caught my attention in particular. First, he warns us not to delay. And second, he urged us to he patient and never give up.
Often, the window when someone can be reached is small. If we fail to act, someone’s life circumstances may change and they may no longer be open to hearing gospel truth. It is a horrible feeling when we realize we might have been too late to touch someone. I had one friend several years ago, for instance, who after the fact expressed a desire that I would have asked him to come to church activities with me. But by the time he mentioned it, we had both moved and life circumstances had changed. We need to act when we see an opportunity and not delay.
On the other hand, there will frequently not be an opportunity now or for the foreseeable future. We must be patient and willing to wait for the lord to open hearts and minds. He will create the proper circumstances and help us to know when to act.
Sometimes being to over zealous out of season can be harmful and prevent someone from one day being ready. So we need to temper the desire to act right away with a measure of patience and understanding of the Lord’s timing. When the Lord says to act we must act quickly, but sometimes we must wait weeks and months and years and even a whole lifetime for that moment. Sometimes that moment will heartbreakingly not come in this life at all. But we must have confidence in the Lord’s promises.