“Take Heed to Yourselves”

Luke 21:29–36

29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said:

“Brothers and sisters, over the sweep of Christian history, some believers have, by focusing on a few prophecies while neglecting others, prematurely expected the Second Coming. Today, while we are obviously closer to that great moment, we are in the same danger.

“On the other hand, smugness is also a real danger. Of Jesus’s first advent, the smug said, ‘It is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come’ [Helaman 16:18]. Declared Jesus of His second coming, ‘Take heed . . . lest . . . that day come upon you unawares’ (Luke 21:34–35; see also Matt. 24:37–38; Rev. 3:3; D&C 45:26).

“Peter wrote of the smug skeptics who would say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming,’ for do not ‘all things continue as they were from the beginning’? (2 Pet. 3:4).

“Some prophecies, such as the return of Jewish people to Israel, were decades in their fulfillment (see Ezek. 39:27). Other prophecies can be fulfilled in a compressed period of time. . . .

“. . . I have no hesitancy in saying that there are some signs—but certainly not all— suggesting that ‘summer is nigh’ (Matt. 24:32). We would do well to notice and to ponder, but without either becoming preoccupied or ignoring any sprouting leaves because of being ‘overcharged’ with the ‘cares of this life’ (Luke 21:34). . . .

“Members of the Church need not and should not be alarmists. They need not be deflected from quietly and righteously pursuing their daily lives, ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ (2 Tim. 1:7). . . .

“‘And the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded. But it is the kingdom of the devil . . . who need fear, and tremble, and quake’ (1 Ne. 22:22–23).

“If we are faithful and obedient while in this good and beautiful world, we will later inherit ‘a far better land of promise’ (Alma 37:45), ‘a city . . . whose builder and maker is God’ (Heb. 11:10), a city within which are ‘many mansions’ (John 14:2–3).

“Paul wrote, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man [meaning we cannot even imagine] the things which God hath prepared for them that love him’ (1 Cor. 2:9).

“The spiritually submissive will make it through. The word of God will lead the man and the woman of Christ ‘in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery’ [Helaman 3:29] and land their souls at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, ‘to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began’ (Alma 7:25; see also Ether 12:4).

“Those who have overcome the world will themselves then be overcome by the generosity of the Father, as the Father shares ‘all that [the] Father hath’ (D&C 84:38). The faithful will hear those special words, ‘Enter into the joy of [your] Lord’ (D&C 51:19).”

(“For I Will Lead You Along,” Ensign, May 1988, 7, 9.)