Wednesday, April 28, 2021

President Spencer W. Kimball on using time wisely

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"Jesus also taught us how important it is to use our time wisely. This does not mean there can never be any leisure, for there must be time for contemplation and for renewal, but there must be no waste of time. How we manage time matters so very much, and we can be good managers of time without being frantic or officious. Time cannot be recycled. When a moment has gone, it is really gone. The tyranny of trivia consists of its driving out the people and moments that really matter. Minutia holds momentous things hostage, and we let the tyranny continue all too often. Wise time management is really the wise management of ourselves." 
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Jesus: The Perfect Leader," address to the Young Presidents organization, Sun Valley, Idaho, 15 January 1977; see Ensign, Aug 1979, p. 6
Click here to read the full talk.

President Kimball's message is a great one — he often used words so beautifully.  "The tyranny of trivia" threatens to engulf us (today more than ever), and we must choose carefully and wisely how to use our time to ensure that "momentous things" aren't held hostage.  Leisure has its place, but should be carefully considered in the midst of other responsibilities and opportunities.  "Wise time management" is a wonderful topic to ponder.

In his remarks, Pres. Kimball didn't elaborate about which teachings of Jesus he had in mind that offered this counsel. From the New Testament record of the Savior's life and teachings, there are candidates:
"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." (John 9:4)
We might consider that there are implications of how we choose to use our time in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) or the teachings about helping strangers in need (Matthew 25:31-46).

If Pres. Kimball was assuming the Savior was the teacher in modern revelation, there are some more clear and explicit examples, such as:
"Thou shalt not idle away thy time.” (D&C 60:13)
"Cease to be idle... cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated." (D&C 88:124)
 And perhaps choices and priorities are best summed up in the Savior's reminder:
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)

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