Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Elder M. Russell Ballard on how to find joy in life

Elder M. Russell Ballard (1928- ) was called as a Seventy in 1976, and has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1985.
"I believe there is one simple but profound—even sublime—principle that encompasses the entirety of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we wholeheartedly embrace this principle and make it the focus of our lives, it will purify and sanctify us so we can live once again in the presence of God. 
"The Savior spoke of this principle when He answered the Pharisee who asked, 'Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 
"'Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 
"'This is the first and great commandment. 
"'And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself' (Matthew 22:36-40). 
"It is only when we love God and Christ with all of our hearts, souls, and minds that we are able to share this love with our neighbors through acts of kindness and service—the way that the Savior would love and serve all of us if He were among us today. 
"When this pure love of Christ—or charity—envelops us, we think, feel, and act more like Heavenly Father and Jesus would think, feel, and act. Our motivation and heartfelt desire are like unto that of the Savior.... 
"The love the Savior described is an active love. It is not manifested through large and heroic deeds but rather through simple acts of kindness and service." 
- M. Russell Ballard, "Finding Joy through Loving Service," General Conference April 2011; Click here to read the full talk

It would be an interesting test, to ask people if they can identify a simple, profound, sublime principle that encompasses the entire gospel and is capable alone of purifying and sanctifying those who are willing to embrace and follow it.

Full obedience to the first great commandment is the prerequisite for the second, the foundation on which the ability to give Christ-like service rests:

The additional point Elder Ballard makes is also very helpful.  It's encouraging to recognize that the key to this transforming power is in small and simple things, well within the reach of even the least among us.

The task we should undertake is to seek those "simple acts of kindness and service" in our daily lives!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
February 12, 2015

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