Friday, November 30, 2018

President Spencer W. Kimball on having an eternal perspective in choices and decisions

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"I remember reading a message that Grandfather [Heber C.] Kimball wrote to his children, in which he said, 'I only care for the things of eternity. When I behold the great things of God and the glory which awaits the righteous, and when I reflect that the road is so straight that but few find it, I feel to pray the Lord to bless my children and save them. I am thankful to God because I live in a day when some will find it and will become Gods.' (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, Bookcraft, 1945, p. 513.)
"If we live in such a way that the considerations of eternity press upon us, we will make better decisions. Perhaps this is why President Brigham Young once said that if he could do but one thing to bless the Saints, he believed it would be to give them 'eyes with which to see things as they are.' (Journal of Discourses, 3:221; italics added.) It is interesting to note how those last words reflect the words of the scripture in which truth is described as 'knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.' (D&C 93:24.) Jacob reminds us also that 'the Spirit speaketh the truth … of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be.' (Jacob 4:13.)
"The more clearly we see eternity, the more obvious it becomes that the Lord’s work in which we are engaged is one vast and grand work with striking similarities on each side of the veil."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "The Things of Eternity—Stand We in Jeopardy?," Ensign January 1977, p. 3
Click here to read the complete article

This was a marvelously thought-provoking talk by President Kimball. Even the title alone gives pause: "The Things of Eternity—Stand We in Jeopardy?" Too often, our  attention is narrowly focused on the challenges of life, and we neglect the long-term implications of decisions or directions. We must never allow that to happen; our priorities must focus first on those "things of eternity" if we are to be truly happy! Then, President Kimball suggests, we will make better decisions on the more immediate challenges:

The statement President Kimball quoted from his grandfather, Heber C. Kimball, sets the tone for the message. The earlier President Kimball had the proper perspective; he knew that focusing on those things that matter most is the only safe course. And I love Brigham Young's insight too: if only we could see things as they really are, not as we suppose or believe they are. That kind of spiritually-enhanced perspective will bless our lives in profound ways.

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

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