In today’s modern world, more Latter-day Saints are looking to gain momentum in their careers than ever before. This is especially true of young single adults. With so many people vying for positions and promotions, how can we succeed in the workplace? It may seem surprising, but the scriptures offer us some great examples about how to be dedicated, effective employees. One of the most prominent? The story of Ammon and his time serving King Lamoni and his people.
Ammon was the chief among the Sons of Mosiah, four brothers who rebelled against God and then spent their lives preaching the gospel after a miraculous encounter with an angel. Before the brothers “separated themselves one from another” and took their journeys through the land of the Lamanites, Ammon “did administer unto them” and “blessed them according to their several stations, having imparted the word of God unto them.”
It is clear Ammon was the leader. After administering to his brothers, he traveled to the land of Ishmael where the Lamanites promptly bound him and took him to King Lamoni. As we follow Ammon through his encounters with what would eventually become a beloved people, we can learn how to be great employees no matter our position.
Willing to Commit – Alma 17:23
Upon first meeting King Lamoni, Ammon expressed his willingness to stay among their people “for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die.” This impressed King Lamoni, who promptly let Ammon out of his chains and offered him one of his daughters to marry.
While there are definitely times when we need to move on from a job or position, companies always appreciate loyalty and commitment. It takes a lot of time and resources to train someone for any position. No employer wants a high rate of turnover. Seek a job or career path you feel you can commit to.
Genuinely Cared for Fellow Servants – Alma 17:29-30
Ammon declined King Lamoni’s offer to marry one of his daughters and instead asked to be a servant. He was put to work tending the flocks, taking them to the waters of Sebus so they could drink. Immediately, Ammon begins referring to the other servants as “fellow-servants” and “those whom he termed to be his brethren.”
Contention in the workplace is a destructive force. No matter how skilled or qualified you are, causing trouble or not being able to work as part of a team is a surefire way to land yourself in a bad place. Take on an attitude of humility, no matter your position. Seek to improve your company by working with others and striving to bring out the best in everyone around you. Magnify your own strengths and the strengths in others.
Took Initiative to Accomplish Something Hard – Alma 17:36-37
One of the most famous details of Ammon’s story is the encounter he has with a group of Lamanites scattering the king’s flocks. When they come against him, Ammon smites off their arms and drives them away.
Now, we are never going to have to cut off the arms of an angry mob of people, but we will be asked to do hard things. From the tedious and tiring to challenges and learning curves, the best jobs will often require us to get out of our comfort zone and push ourselves. Instead of shrinking from these duties, we can be like Ammon and take an initiative, doing our best and giving God the rest. God was able to give Ammon power because he was willing to act. We will be given the power to act in whatever capacity we need to live our lives if we will trust in God.
Always Willing to Work – Alma 18:9
The servants carried the disembodied arms to the king and told him what had happened. King Lamoni was astonished. He imagined Ammon was the Great Spirit his fathers had spoken of. “Where is this man that has such a great power?” King Lamoni asks. He’s feeding the horses and preparing the chariots, the servants reply. At this, King Lamoni knows “surely there has not been any servant among all my servants that has been so faithful as this man.”
Ammon kept on working. He was diligent and went the extra mile, even after an extremely hard task. His job responsibilities were not glamorous or fun, but he did them diligently. Look for ways you can magnify your position and innovate. Be willing to do the hard, dirty work no one else wants to do.
Wise, Yet Harmless – Alma 18:22
When Ammon finally meets with King Lamoni, the scriptures describe him as being “wise, yet harmless.” He entreats King Lamoni gently and begins a powerful conversation that eventually leads to the conversion of an entire people.
After gaining managerial power or reaching a position of skill and knowledge, it is easy to want to use this to gain advantages over others. Instead, use all the wisdom you’ve gained to teach others, genuinely desiring to help them move forward as well. Avoid the wicked dealings of modern men and maintain your integrity in all things.
Brought With Him Spirit and Conviction – Alma 18:35
As part of his testimony to King Lamoni, Ammon speaks of the Holy Ghost and how it has “given me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God.” Ammon went into a dangerous and harrowing situation with faith in God and a desire to do good.
Heavenly Father knows the desires of our hearts. He cares about our livelihood and our ability to provide for ourselves and others. If we bring in our own convictions, passions, and faith to any task we will find God’s help. Success may not always come as we wish it to, but we can be assured with peace from God.
Filled With Love – Alma 20:26
Much later on in Ammon’s story, King Lamoni and Ammon travel to Middoni to help save his impoverished brothers and to teach King Lamoni’s father the gospel. When King Lamoni’s father and Ammon get into an altercation, it is the “great love [Ammon] had for his son” that causes him to stop the fight and humble himself before Ammon and his son.
At the end of the day, finding a job or position you are truly invested in will allow you to commit in a powerful and noticeable ways. It is not always possible to find a “dream job” or to be totally in love with what you do every day. However, seek out a career path that you feel can fulfill your interests and help you find joy in your journey.