Saturday, December 2, 2017

Elder M. Russell Ballard on the things that matter most

Elder M. Russell Ballard (born October 8, 1928) was called as a Seventy in 1976, and has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1985.
"Remember, you can be exalted without a college degree. You can be exalted without being slender and beautiful. You can be exalted without having a successful career. You can be exalted if you are not rich and famous. So focus the best that you can on those things in life that will lead you back to the presence of God—keeping all things in their proper balance. There are those who may never marry in mortality. But all of God’s blessings will ultimately come to those who are righteous and true to the gospel.
"Oh, my dear young brothers and sisters, these are the days of your probation. This time is a precious window of opportunity to prepare for your future. Do not waste this time away. Get out a paper and pencil and write down the things that matter most to you. List the goals that you hope to accomplish in life and what things are required if they are to become a reality for you. Plan and prepare and then do."
- M. Russell Ballard, "Be Strong in the Lord, and in the Power of His Might," BYU Devotional, March 3, 2002
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Ballard counseled students in this 2002 address about the challenges in their phase of life, including the expectation of always wanting more than they have, or wanting what others have. His message is applicable to all of us. It's important to remember what is essential, what is most important in our choices and priorities. When sometimes we don't achieve a goal we thought was important, it's good to consider the broader perspective of what really matters:

Elder Ballard gives some wise counsel about how precious time is, and a warning to not waste it away. It may have been important for young college-age people to establish priorities; but all of us, at any age, would benefit from the same practices of identifying "the things that matter most to you" and the establishing of specific goals to work towards them. "Plan and prepare and then do" is a great summary.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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