I ran across a beautiful article the other day by Thomas S. Monson entitled “Three Goals to Guide You.” Though the address was given to a group of women, I think its message sets the tone for anyone who wants to serve the Lord to the best of their ability every day of their lives. President Monson gives the advice that often, there are only three main goals we need to work toward in order to be the best people that we can be.
1. Study diligently.
2. Pray earnestly.
3. Serve willingly.
First, study. What does the disciple study? The most obvious answer is the scriptures. Christ has said,
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).
When we read the scriptures with sincerity and diligence, we hear the Lord’s voice and understand His words — then, when they speak to our heart, they penetrate deep. As we study, we read, hear, and understand. We learn the will of the Lord and grow in testimony and love for Him. The scriptures are the best foundation for our faith in a world that wants to eat away at anything spiritual. They are a sure guide to paths of faithfulness and the best defense against evil. Scripture study is not a light reading once a week; rather, it is meant to be a diligent pursuit for something we truly desire. We should search the scriptures with the same fervency that we would look for our lost car keys when late for an appointment. They are our life preserver in a world drowning with sin and pain.
Along with the scriptures, explore other good and powerful works. Gain an education and knowledge of the best things the world has to offer. These are placed here for the growth and benefit of God’s children so that we could celebrate our lives, talents, and differences during our experience here on earth.
Second, pray. Once we have come to understand the language of God and can feel His words in our hearts from the scriptures, we must open the line of communication even further by connecting in an even more personal manner.
“Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing” (D&C 19:38).
Express to Heavenly Father your every need, fear, and joy. He will share in your life through your prayers and give you personal direction and support when you listen for His spirit during your communications with Him.
Lastly, we must have a goal to serve willingly. Does it have to be big and dramatic? Usually not. Consider the ways of the Savior. Yes, there were many significant and highly visible acts, and there will be times when we are placed in significant situations where our service will be extremely great. But just as often during the Savior’s mortal ministry, it was something small and personal. There were many times when He told someone to go and tell no one; many times when He noticed what everyone else in the crowd had overlooked. Often, He understood a person’s heart when the world could not.
These are the things that marked His greatness in my eyes and what He most often requires of us as His disciples. As His hands of service in the lives we come in contact with, He wants us to notice the little things. The man in the tree, left on the outskirts. The woman who needs someone to notice the soul behind her tears. He needs our eyes and ears and, most of all, our hearts. He needs our willingness to express our love for Him in ways others can understand and learn from.
These are three simple but soul-expanding goals for the disciple of Christ.
This article was originally published in 2009. Edits have been made for clarity.
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