Monday, January 19, 2015

David A. Bednar on being quick to observe

Elder Bednar (1952- ) was sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2004. The following year, he spoke at a BYU devotional and shared thoughts about the spiritual gifts of observation and discernment:
"I hope you also are learning about and becoming quick to observe. Your future success and happiness will in large measure be determined by this spiritual capacity.
"Please consider the significance of this important spiritual gift. As used in the scriptures, the word observe has two primary uses. One use denotes 'to look' or 'to see' or 'to notice'—as we learn in Isaiah 42:20: 'Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not' (emphasis added).
"The second use of the word observe suggests 'to obey' or 'to keep'—as is evident in the Doctrine and Covenants: 'But blessed are they who have kept the covenant and observed the commandment, for they shall obtain mercy' (D&C 54:6; emphasis added).
"Thus when we are quick to observe, we promptly look or notice and obey. Both of these fundamental elements—looking and obeying—are essential to being quick to observe....
"Quick to observe. Prompt to watch and to obey. A simple gift that blesses us individually and in our families and extends blessings to so many other people. Each of us can and should strive to be worthy of this significant spiritual gift—even the capacity of being quick to observe."
- David A. Bednar, "Quick to Observe," BYU devotional, May 10, 2005
Click here to read the full talk
Elder Bednar often gives wonderfully thoughtful and thought-provoking addresses. This was a good example. He teaches some great principles, and then gives some beautiful and touching examples that illustrate those concepts—how to observe faithful examples from those around us in order to learn and emulate, and a key to observing needs where we might make a difference for someone.

Elder Bednar then continues to note that "being quick to observe is an antecedent to and is linked with the spiritual gift of discernment. And for you and for me, discernment is a light of protection and direction in a world that grows increasingly dark."  He goes on to discuss this second spiritual gift in further detail. See the link at the end of the quote above to read the full talk; it's worth a few minutes to study and ponder!

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