Monday, February 15, 2016

Spencer W. Kimball on the blessings of lengthening our stride

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"So much depends upon our willingness to make up our minds, collectively and individually, that present levels of performance are not acceptable, either to ourselves or to the Lord. In saying that, I am not calling for flashy, temporary differences in our performance levels, but a quiet resolve... to do a better job, to lengthen our stride." (Regional Representative's Seminar, 3 Oct. 1974.)
"When I think of the concept of 'lengthening our stride,' I, of course, apply it to myself as well as urging it upon the Church. The 'lengthening of our stride' suggests urgency instead of hesitancy, 'now,' instead of tomorrow; it suggests not only an acceleration, but efficiency. It suggests, too, that the whole body of the Church move forward in unison with a quickened pace and pulse, doing our duty with all our heart, instead of halfheartedly. It means, therefore, mobilizing and stretching all our muscles and drawing on all our resources. It suggests also that we stride with pride and with a sense of anticipation as we meet the challenges facing the kingdom. Out of all this will come a momentum that will be sobering and exhilarating at the same time." (MIA June Conference, 29 June 1975.)
- Spencer W. Kimball, "The Words of a Prophet," Ensign, December 1985, p. 26
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President Kimball was not a physically large man. But there are few who could match his "stride" in moving forward the Lord's kingdom. He started to talk about lengthening our stride soon after he became the president of the Church in 1973. These two excerpts are a great sampling of his vision and enthusiasm.

This is a challenge that displays remarkable vision and foresight. The opening words "So much depends" convey an understanding of the implications that would have to be divinely inspired. And now that over 40 years have passed since these words were first shared, we should all be asking ourselves, "Did I improve my personal level of performance, and see the blessings that followed?" President Kimball promised "a momentum that will be sobering and exhilarating at the same time."

An even better question: Could I "lengthen my stride" now, today? Do we still sense that "quiet resolve" to be more faithful, more diligent, more obedient—"doing our duty with all our heart, instead of halfheartedly"? It's never too late to begin to do better!

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