Benjamin Landart was 15 years old in 1888. He was an accomplished violinist and living on a farm in northern Utah with his mother and seven brothers and sisters was sometimes a challenge to Benjamin, as he never had enough time to play his violin. Occasionally his mother would lock up the violin until he had his farm chores done.
In 1892 Benjamin traveled to Salt Lake to audition for the territorial orchestra. It was a dream come true, the conductor told Benjamin he was the most accomplished violinist he had heard west of Denver. He was asked to report to Denver for rehearsals in the fall.
A week after Benjamin received the good news, however, his bishop called him into his office and asked if he couldn’t put off playing with the orchestra for a couple of years. He reminded Benjamin that there was something he owed the Lord and he asked Benjamin to accept a mission call.
Giving up his chance to play in the orchestra would be hard, but he also knew what his decision should be. He told the bishop that if there were any way to raise the money, he would accept the call.
When Benjamin told his mother about the call she was overjoyed. His father had always wanted to serve a mission but had died before he had the opportunity. His mother talked of selling some of their land, but Benjamin wouldn’t hear of it and decided to finance his mission by selling his precious violin.
On March 23, 1893, Benjamin wrote in his journal: “I awoke this morning and took my violin from its case. All day long I played the music I love. In the evening when the light grew dim and I could see to play no longer, I placed the instrument in its case. It will be enough. Tomorrow I leave for my mission.”
Forty-five years later, Benjamin wrote this powerful statement in his journal: “The greatest decision I ever made in my life was to give up something I dearly loved to the God I loved even more. He has never forgotten me for it.”
Each of us will be given the chance to make a decision like this. Abraham chose God over the life of his son. Daniel chose prayer over the commands of his king. Paul chose Christ and truth over dearly held traditions.
Will we recognize the significance of the moment as we choose? Will we have the courage to leave behind what we love, for something that proclaims our love for God?
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”