Tuesday, January 9, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on the balance between learning and trusting in God

President Russell M. Nelson (born Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He was set apart as president of the Quorum of Twelve on July 15, 2015. With the death of President Monson, at age 93 he currently presides over the Church as senior apostle.
"'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding' (Proverbs 3:5). We experienced it firsthand. This doctrine, taught repeatedly in the scriptures (see, for example, Proverbs 11:28; Jeremiah 17:5; Romans 8:1; 2 Nephi 4:34-35; 2 Nephi 28:31; D&C 1:19-23), had now become our sure knowledge.
"Please do not misunderstand me, brothers and sisters. Of course we need to prepare for worthy work to do. Yes, we do need to do our work well, whatever we choose to do in life. We need to be able to render significant service. And before we can achieve that competence, we need an education. With us, education is a religious responsibility. The glory of God really is intelligence (see D&C 93:36).
"But the learning of man has its limitations. And sometimes... the combined learning of many experts cannot be applied when we need it most. We have to place our trust in the Lord....
"Those who cherish their faith in God—those who trust in Him—have been given this scriptural promise: 'Let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God.... These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever' (D&C 76:61-62). May that be the ultimate destiny for each of us."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Neither Trust in the Arm of Flesh," BYU commencement address, April 23, 2009; see also Ensign, March 2010, p. 24
Click here to read or listen to the full speech

Speaking to a graduating class at BYU, President Nelson discussed the interplay between our personal efforts at learning and education, and the dependence we have on Divine help. In essence, we need to do all in our power to prepare for life and "significant service" to our fellowmen. But even with all of the learning we are able to do, we must acknowledge that the very best efforts fall short:

By truly learning to trust in God in our lives, our best efforts can be supplemented and magnified in wonderful ways. And in the process, we can "glory in God" and receive the fullness of His blessings.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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