Saturday, October 17, 2015

David A. Bednar on the blessing of seasoned leadership

Elder David A. Bednar (1952- ) was sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2004.
"My purpose is to explain why indeed it is wonderful to have older men of great spiritual maturity and judgment serving in the senior leadership positions of the restored Church of Jesus Christ—and why we should 'hear' and 'hearken' (Mosiah 2:9) to the teachings of these men whom the Lord has 'chosen to bear testimony of [His] name... among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people' (D&C 112:1)....
"The limitations that are the natural consequence of advancing age can in fact become remarkable sources of spiritual learning and insight. The very factors many may believe limit the effectiveness of these servants can become some of their greatest strengths. Physical restrictions can expand vision. Limited stamina can clarify priorities. Inability to do many things can direct focus to a few things of greatest importance.
"Some people have suggested younger, more vigorous leaders are needed in the Church to address effectively the serious challenges of our modern world. But the Lord does not use contemporary philosophies and practices of leadership to accomplish His purposes (see Isaiah 55:8–9). We can expect the President and other senior leaders of the Church will be older and spiritually seasoned men....
"These men have had a sustained season of tutoring by the Lord, whom they represent, serve, and love. They have learned to understand the divine language of the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s patterns for receiving revelation. These ordinary men have undergone a most extraordinary developmental process that has sharpened their vision, informed their insight, engendered love for people from all nations and circumstances, and affirmed the reality of the Restoration."
- David A. Bednar, "Chosen to Bear Testimony of My Name," General Conference, October 2015, Sunday afternoon session
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Bednar paid tribute to the "senior leaders" of the Church in his message during the recent conference, which turned out to the the concluding talk of the whole weekend. He mentioned particular examples from the six leaders who have passed away since he was called as an apostle — President Faust, President Hinckley, Elder Wirthlin, Elder Perry, President Packer, and Elder Scott.

The concept of "a sustained season of tutoring by the Lord" is an interesting one.  By the time these men have given a few decades of their lives in full-time leadership, they have seen and heard, and experienced, so many things that enable them to serve in a way that is insightful and powerful. We should be grateful for the wisdom that comes with advancing years!

Elder Bednar concluded with his personal witness, one that I share:
"With all the energy of my soul, I witness the resurrected and living Christ directs the affairs of His restored and living Church through His servants who have been chosen to bear testimony of His name."

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