Wednesday, December 14, 2016

President Spencer W. Kimball on Gospel perspective in choosing priorities

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"Some observers might wonder why we concern ourselves with such simple things as service to others in a world surrounded by such dramatic problems. Yet, one of the advantages of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it gives us perspective about the people on this planet, including ourselves, so that we can see the things that truly matter and avoid getting caught up in the multiplicity of lesser causes that vie for the attention of mankind....
"May I counsel you that when you select causes for which you give your time and talents and treasure in service to others, be careful to select good causes. There are so many of these causes to which you can give yourself fully and freely and which will produce much joy and happiness for you and for those you serve. There are other causes, from time to time, which may seem more fashionable and which may produce the applause of the world, but these are usually more selfish in nature. These latter causes tend to arise out of what the scriptures call 'the commandments of men' rather than the commandments of God. Such causes have some virtues and some usefulness, but they are not as important as those causes which grow out of keeping the commandments of God."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "The Abundant Life," address at Weber State College, Ogden, on Nov 4, 1977; see Ensign, July 1978, pp. 2-7
Click here to read the full article

What concerns the leaders of the Church? Are they aware of the "dramatic problems" that fill the world? Certainly, and they do address those. But they also talk repeatedly about concepts such as serving and blessing those around us. That is because they have the grand perspective the gospel provides to aid in identifying "things that truly matter" and avoid getting caught up in the many "lesser causes" vying for attention.

President Kimball then cautions us specifically to exercise that same judgement and caution as we consider what causes or needs we devote our "time and talents and treasure in service to others." There are many ways we can help, and many voices crying for our contributions; but not all causes are equal, or equally important and productive. We should strive to do the most good we can, using our precious resources of time and means in the best ways we can find.

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