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Church Talk: Real intent in our relationships

Friday 22 September 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features


Church Talk: Real intent in our relationships
Jesus Christ, is the ultimate example of real intent. He sought to do His Father’s will and dedicated His life in doing so. SUPPLIED/23092135

There is a principle of ‘real intent’ that reflects on who we are and why we do things. Doing things with real intent is about giving your all and showing true commitment. If applied in our relationships, whether it be with family, at work, or with God, using real intent will bless our lives, writes Tamatoa Jonassen of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I want to share the Parable of the Oranges, a story shared in a 2015 devotional by brother Randall L. Ridd that was later printed in 2016 in Forbes magazine.

This story demonstrates the principle of real intent.

“There was a young man who had ambitions to work for a company because it paid very well and was very prestigious. He prepared his résumé and had several interviews. Eventually, he was given an entry-level position. Then he turned his ambition to his next goal – a supervisor position that would afford him even greater prestige and more pay. So he completed the tasks he was given. He came in early some mornings and stayed late so the boss would see him putting in long hours.

After five years a supervisor position became available. But, to the young man’s great dismay, another employee, who had only worked for the company for six months, was given the promotion. The young man was very angry, and he went to his boss and demanded an explanation.

The wise boss said, “Before I answer your questions, would you do a favour for me?”

“Yes, sure,” said the employee.

“Would you go to the store and buy some oranges? My wife needs them.”

The young man agreed and went to the store. When he returned, the boss asked, “What kind of oranges did you buy?”

“I don’t know,” the young man answered. “You just said to buy oranges, and these are oranges. Here they are.”

“How much did they cost?” the boss asked.

“Well, I’m not sure,” was the reply. “You gave me $30. Here is your receipt, and here is your change.”

“Thank you,” said the boss. “Now, please have a seat and pay careful attention.”

Then the boss called in the employee who had received the promotion and asked him to do the same job. He readily agreed and went to the store.

When he returned, the boss asked, “What kind of oranges did you buy?”

“Well,” he replied, “the store had many varieties—there were navel oranges, valencia oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, and many others, and I didn’t know which kind to buy. But I remembered you said your wife needed the oranges, so I called her. She said she was having a party and that she was going to make orange juice. So I asked the grocer which of all these oranges would make the best orange juice. He said the valencia orange was full of very sweet juice, so that’s what I bought. I dropped them by your home on my way back to the office. Your wife was very pleased.”

“How much did they cost?” the boss asked.

“Well, that was another problem. I didn’t know how many to buy, so I once again called your wife and asked her how many guests she was expecting. She said 20. I asked the grocer how many oranges would be needed to make juice for 20 people, and it was a lot. So, I asked the grocer if he could give me a quantity discount, and he did. These oranges normally cost 75 cents each, but I paid only 50 cents. Here is your change and the receipt.”

The boss smiled and said, “Thank you; you may go.”

He looked over at the young man who had been watching. The young man stood up, slumped his shoulders and said, “I see what you mean,” as he walked dejectedly out of the office.

What was the difference between these two young men? They were both asked to buy oranges, and they did. You might say that one went the extra mile, or one was more efficient, or one paid more attention to detail. But the most important difference had to do with real intent rather than just going through the motions. The first young man was motivated by money, position, and prestige. The second young man was driven by an intense desire to please his employer and an inner commitment to be the best employee he could possibly be—and the outcome was obvious.

How does our own commitment compare to that demonstrated in the Parable of the Oranges? Are we being too casual in our relationships with family, with work, or with God? Do we turn our hearts and minds to the Lord only on Sundays? Are our prayers robotic and out of habit, or are we pouring our righteous desires and sincere gratitude in regular prayer?

The Greek philosopher Socrates, regarded as the wisest man in ancient Greece, once said “an unexamined life is not worth living”. Understanding the “why” behind our actions helps us understand our purpose and how we can improve in our commitments.

Jesus Christ, is the ultimate example of real intent. He sought to do His Father’s will and dedicated His life in doing so. Applying His teachings in our lives with real intent will help us become the best versions of ourselves that we could possibly be.

I testify that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. There is true power and saving grace in aligning ourselves with Christ, and doing so with real intent.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.