Saturday, May 21, 2016

David A. Bednar on consistency in living gospel principles

Elder David A. Bednar (b. 1952) was serving as the president of BYU–Idaho when he was called and sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2004.
"In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes--none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.
"Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. 'Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great' (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes."
- David A. Bednar, "More Diligent and Concerned at Home," Ensign, Nov. 2009, pp. 17-20
Click here to read the full talk

I love Impressionistic art, where small points or smudges of color come together to form a beautiful picture when seen in its entirety. There are lots of applications of that concept; for example, sometimes we get caught up in small challenges or disappointments in life, forgetting that as part of a broader view they might provide a part of a beautiful bigger picture.

Elder Bednar's application relates to the importance of each of those small brushstrokes; together they form a composite that only the master artist could have conceived in the production. And the analogy is to our lives: each small act of goodness, under the guidance of an overall plan, while not necessarily memorable or impressive, can result in "significant spiritual results" when combined together over time.

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