A Samoan proverbs reads E mana’o i ufi ae fefe i papa. A direct translation of this refers to one who wants to obtain yams but is afraid of the rocky obstacles that are in the way. We may apply this adage to one who wants all the blessings of the Gospel but is afraid to pay the price of discipleship. All too often we are able to talk the talk but are found lacking when asked to walk the walk. The pathway to exaltation is the same for all. One must live according to the principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and endure to the end or one cannot obtain that which the Gospel promises to the faithful—eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father.
Another proverbial saying of the Samoan people reads Seu le manu ae taga’i i galu. Literally, it comes as a warning to one setting out to sea to catch sea birds: that as he nets a bird he ought to keep an eye out for approaching waves. Warning signs are readily seen on American coastlines cautioning us to be wary of “sneaker” waves; and the Samoan who goes to the shore to catch seabirds knows, as does the beachgoer, that any negligence on his part to watch out for “sneakers” may result in disaster.
In life, Satan is trying to sneak up on us with hopes that we are unaware of his insidious advances. He uses every conceivable method to conceal his approach—even going to the extent to label that which is evil good, that which is dark light, and that which is bitter sweet. We must be familiar with Satan’s catch-phrase temptations of “eat, drink and be merry” and protect ourselves by donning the whole armor of God.
Another saying goes like this: Toe timata le upega. Literally, it means to repair a fishing-net. However, in a Gospel context, one may relate this saying to the blessing of repentance. Each of our lives is a complex set of circumstances woven together like a net. When we err, or sin, we make tears in the nets of our lives. Some tears are small and others are large. A torn net is unfit for use in the fishing industry; so are we unfit for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven when our lives are torn with sin and transgression.
Fortunately, there is hope and a glorious prospect of redemption. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” is the first of all principles and ordinances of the Gospel, and faith is an action word. Faith leads those who are the possessors of it to good works such as keeping the commandments of God. More specifically, faith moves us to repentance for our sins so that we may become more like Jesus Christ and that through the Atonement of Christ our lives may be made whole; our nets may be mended.