Friday, April 27, 2018

President Spencer W. Kimball on living the gospel life

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"If we live in a way that permits us to be more accepted of God, we should not be surprised if we are rejected by the world, or surprised if its ways seem more and more alien to us. The gospel offers us not only the prospect of eternal life, but provides us a whole way of life in mortality. Whereas so many in the world see death as the end and the loss of hope, we testify to the reality of the resurrection. Just as immortality and eternal life stand in such sharp contrast to the world’s lack of purpose, so the righteous way of life stands in sharp contrast to the ways of the world. Let us make certain there is oil in our own lamps. Let us live our lives so we can have the gift of the Holy Ghost operating evermore constantly in our lives.
"Let us remember, too, that greatness is not always a matter of the scale of one’s life, but of the quality of one’s life. True greatness is not always tied to the scope of our tasks, but to the quality of how we carry out our tasks whatever they are. In that attitude, let us give our time, ourselves, and our talents to the things that really matter now, things which will still matter a thousand years from now."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "A Gift of Gratitude," Liahona December 1977
Click here to read the full article

President Kimball suggests that anyone living in a way that pleases God will notice two things: the world's ways will begin to seem alien to us, and we will feel rejection from the world. It's been over 40 years since these thoughts were published, and we can only assume that the world's way has diverged even further from the gospel path. We would benefit from pondering ways in which we see this dichotomy between our own path and the world's way of life. We should see that "the righteous way of life stands in sharp contrast to the ways of the world."

As we consider gospel standards in contrast to the world and its standards, this is a good example of the contrast. What does it really mean to achieve greatness? President Kimball reminds us that the important thing is quality of life, not necessarily scale of influence. His criterion for evaluating our activities and priorities is a great one: will that thing matter a thousand years from now?

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

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