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Devotionals

The Cadence of Consistency


Good morning sisters and brothers. Aloha!

A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.

“Do you ever get anywhere?” he asked with a mocking laugh.

“Yes,” replied the Tortoise, “and I get there sooner than you think. I’ll run you a race and prove it.”

The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So, the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.

The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.

The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up; the Tortoise was near the goal. The hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.

So, the written moral to this famous story found in Aesop’s Fable is: The race is not always to the swift.

Another way this could be applied: Steady and consistent action will yield dramatic results.

The turtle kept a consistent cadence. Cadence is the amount of time between repetitive actions, like the turtle’s steps.

In retelling the story of he and his wife taking inventory of their food storage and emergency supplies, Elder Bednar said this in his Saturday morning General Conference address:

“The consistency of prophetic counsel over time creates a powerful concert of clarity and a warning volume far louder than solo performances can ever produce.” The loud and clarion call is to prepare for times of distress. “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” (Section 38:30)

So, I would like to address how a consistent cadence over time will produce dramatic results.

I marvel at the consistent cadence of Sister King. For the last several years she has been adding to her personal history. This became even more serious after she had a little more time after returning from presiding over the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. Weekly and consistently she continues to write a little each Sunday. Through these years, the consistent cadence of writing her history now masses more than 500 pages.

If we look to the Savior, His consistency and cadence about His doctrine is recorded in many places throughout ancient and modern scripture.

Of the Book of Mormon translation completed by Joseph Smith, he stated, “And he has translated the book, even that part which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true.” (Doctrine and Covenants Section 17:6)

To illustrate the Lord’s cadence, He follows only one section and few verses later by bearing the same consistent testimony, “Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that things which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true.” (Doctrine and Covenants Section 18:2)

Consistently a cadence of testifying of truth. And it seems the more important the doctrine, the quicker the cadence.

Learning to be consistent in our cadence should be learned early. In 1986 author Robert Fulghum published his book, “All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Some of his ideas include:

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some … and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

In cycling, cadence is the rate at which a cyclist is pedaling measured in rotations per minute. For many years I have been serious about cycling. I learned to ride at an early age and found many hours of enjoyment spinning around the neighborhoods where we lived. I even earned funds by riding a bike delivering newspapers, lots of them.

In later years, I have pushed myself at times to be a consistent rider to accomplish larger goals.

Many times, I have ridden over 100 miles on a single ride. I’ve seen the backroad beauty of Germany, Monte Negro, New York City, Highway 1 on the California Coastline from San Francisco to San Diego, the North Shore of Oahu, and many vistas in Northern and Southern Utah.

Following the example of Robert Fulghum, I’ve learned a few things in bicycle kindergarten. At first it was:

  1. Keep your balance. Don’t fall over. Learn how to properly steer and brake and maintain enough speed to stay upright. You must be moving forward to keep your balance. 
  2. Obey traffic laws. You may think you are a car but remember you are a bike. The car will always win if you collide. 
  3. Be safe and watch the road ahead to avoid road hazards and potholes. 

In later years it has become:

  1. Wear a helmet, wear gloves, dress with bright colors to be seen.  
  2. Maintain your bike…consistently clean and lubricate your drivetrain. 
  3. Push yourself to be faster/better/stronger/smarter than you were on the last ride. 
  4. Avoid road hazards…look far enough ahead that you can avoid danger. 
  5. Use lights, front and back, even in the daylight. 
  6. Use your gears to keep a consistent cadence always above 80 but try to push yourself to 90, 100 or sprint for more. 

And when riding with others:

  1. Be courteous…ride single file most times. 
  2. Draft to reduce wind resistance.  
  3. Trust the other riders. 
  4. Share the fun. 

Hours in the saddle and years accruing miles has taught me some valuable lessons as applied to the doctrines taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Keep Your Balance

There is no better life plan than to follow the Savior Jesus Christ on the covenant path. Keep yourself grounded and balanced on that path, always moving forward to maintain balance. Have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, repent daily, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost. Listen and act on His promptings. And keep a consistent cadence to endure to the end.

“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” (Mosiah 4:27)

Keep your balance by moving forward.

Obey The Rules of The Road

Those who engineered and built the roads have helped by establishing road signs to help us along the path they designed. In our vernacular we’ll call that the covenant path. Obedience to the rules of the road will bring us safety and security and will help us “stay the course.”

“If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.”
Section 4:29

Obey the rules of the road. Keep all of His commandments.

Keep Your Eyes On The Road Looking Ahead To Avoid Danger

It’s great to listen and learn from those who have experience. Why not listen and observe the prophets, seers, and revelators? Follow the prophet. Stay on the same track. Don’t think you will be safe if you ride on a parallel track. We need to line up right behind them. In cycling that is called drafting. Draft behind them.

President Wilford Woodruff made this statement in October General Conference of 1890,

“The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God.” (Official Declaration 1).

Follow the prophet. Draft behind prophets, seers, and revelators. 

Ride In Groups and Take Turns Leading

When we ride long distances at good speeds it really helps to ride in groups forming a paceline.

This practice is known as drafting. Drafting can be cooperative: each rider takes a turn in the lead position. As they ride in the lead, they expend more energy but help the riders behind them. Rotating and taking turns helps all to be more efficient and gives each leader a short rest. The gap between trusted riders is usually 6 to 24 inches without overlapping wheels.

Most of Church leadership is organized this way? When we rotate out, we follow and draft behind those who push forward to lead us.

Lead when it is your turn to lead, follow when it is your turn to follow.

Expanding on this concept a little:

Signal To Others About Road Hazards

When we draft in groups, each rider except the lead focuses on the rear wheel of the rider just in front of them peeking through holes in the paceline to help avoid obstacles. You learn to trust the lead. Drafting just outside a paceline can spell disaster when road hazards are encountered. When encountering road hazards, audible signals are given as well as hand gestures to avoid the imminent danger. We trust the lead. When it is our turn to lead, the others trust us. In the Church this is known as a sustaining vote or doing things by common consent…“And all things shall be done by common consent in the church.” (Section 26:2)

Then to the main point:

Use All Your Gears To Keep a Consistent Cadence

Remember that consistent cadence over time will produce dramatic results. So figuratively, keep your legs spinning on the cranks (pedals). Keep them moving at a consistent cadence.

You can always up-shift or down-shift to expend the right amount of energy and give you stamina to finish a ride. That is why there are so many gears on a road bicycle. Your cadence and speed may slow as you climb up a hill or you may accelerate to a quicker cadence and speed on the flat but being a rider with a consistent cadence will set you apart and make you a stronger rider. Others will trust you because you are consistent. And for the Holy Ghost…you are predictable in the way you respond to His promptings.

So now I ask, in the gospel of Jesus Christ where would a constant cadence help us?…

Daily immersing ourselves in the scriptures.

President Russell M. Nelson: “I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day you will make better decisions every day.”

Meeting with the Saints regularly.

Alma 1:26 “And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal. And they did all labor, every many according to his strength.”

Consistently paying an honest tithe and other offerings.

Malachi 3:10 “…and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Consistently living temple worthy so we can attend the temple regularly.

My dear brothers and sisters, the assaults of the adversary are increasing…in intensity and in variety.3 Our need to be in the temple on a regular basis has never been greater. I plead with you to take a prayerful look at how you spend your time…If you have reasonable access to a temple, I urge you to find a way to make an appointment regularly with the Lord—to be in His holy house.

President Russell M. Nelson

Watch for daily opportunities to minister.

As I was instructing some young adults about ministering this thought entered my mind, “If I can’t trust you to minister to one family, how can I trust you to minister to worlds without end?”

Follow the Spirit, straightway! (scriptural terminology)

Your consistency in following the promptings of the Holy Ghost immediately will allow for more revelation to flow. Act straightway when inspiration comes. Don’t wait. The Holy Ghost will trust you to act because of the consistency of your cadence. Your confidence will build with the trust the Holy Ghost places in you.

“…then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion,” Section 121:45-46)

These are some lessons I have learned from riding a bicycle and that we can also learn from the Tortoise who, through his constant cadence, finished first against the Hare. Every time I ride, I watch for my consistent cadence. Am I consistently doing what the Lord needs so I can be consistently trusted? Do I keep my pedals turning at a consistent cadence even when there are times when I need to climb a mountain or avoid road hazards or stop to help someone in need although it is not convenient?

My earnest desire is to ride with others as we draft behind the Master cyclist at a consistent cadence always responding to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The Master will lead the way breaking the wind so we may all cross the finish line together. The closer we ride to Him, the more efficient we become. In all of this He is my Savior. I testify of Him, of the Holy Ghost and of a Father in Heaven who has engineered this covenant path for us to return to His presence. Afterall, this is His work and His glory that we may cross the finish line together. Of this I give my witness. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.