As surely as the sun rises in the east every morning, each of us will face the day when we shuffle off this mortal coil and report to our God. At this time we will be greeted by loved ones and ancestors who have carefully watched our progress on earth. It will be a time of great rejoicing, if we are able to return and report that we lived up to our divine potential to the very best of our ability. If we can say we took advantage of this mortal probation and developed our skills, talents, knowledge and education, developing our spirits as fully as possible through the study and internalization of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then we have done what we were sent here to do.
Countless are the reports we have heard during the past three and a half weeks of those who were touched in some way—either directly or indirectly—by the events of that day. I should like to share with you the comments of a Church member, Rebecca Sindar, who was on a flight from Salt Lake City to Dallas on the morning of Tuesday, September 11. The flight was interrupted, as were all flights in the air at the time of the tragedies, and the plane grounded in Amarillo, Texas. Sister Sindar reports: “We all left the plane and found televisions in the airport, where we crowded around to see the broadcast of what had happened. People were lined up to call loved ones to assure them we were safely on the ground. I shall always remember the 12 or so missionaries who were on their way to the mission field on our flight. They made phone calls, and then we saw them huddled in a circle in a corner of the airport, kneeling in prayer together. How I wish I could have captured that moment to share with the mothers and fathers of those sweet young men as they saw the need for prayer right away.” (Thomas S. Monson, “Now Is the Time,” Ensign, Nov 2001, 59)
The time to prepare for this certain day, in each of our lives, is now. Must we rush around, spinning in circles, as we hastily try to prepare? No, of course not. But this day so many dread is indeed a celebration of life and the eternities rather than a time of deep and abiding grief. On that day, you return to your heavenly home and give an account of your life.
These sweet young missionaries knew, at that moment of great national tragedy and sorrow, to turn to our Heavenly Father, for only in Him and His Son Jesus Christ, could peace and comfort be found. And, it is to Them we should turn now, in preparation for that glorious return home.
1. Have you wiled away the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of life sitting in a recliner watching t.v. or playing computer games?
2. Have you spent your time spinning from one frenetic party to another, constantly seeking that next exciting, yet oh so fleeting, moment where you are happy?
3. Have you immersed yourself in work, determined to be the best of the best and in doing so neglected your family?
These questions are not meant to be accusatory, but rather are meant to help each of us realize the things we do which rob us of precious time which should be spent learning of Jesus Christ and His teachings.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch television, just don’t watch it all the time. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play video games, just don’t play them 24 hours a day. Do you see the point I am making? Do you give equal time, or more time, to the study of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Mortality, this life we are living right now, is meant to be a time of learning and progression. President Monson tell us:
How fragile life, how certain death. We do not know when we will be required to leave this mortal existence. And so I ask, “What are we doing with today?” If we live only for tomorrow, we’ll have a lot of empty yesterdays today. Have we been guilty of declaring, “I’ve been thinking about making some course corrections in my life. I plan to take the first step—tomorrow”? With such thinking, tomorrow is forever. Such tomorrows rarely come unless we do something about them today. As the familiar hymn teaches:
There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
(Will L. Thompson, “Have I Done Any Good?” Hymns, no. 223)
Let us ask ourselves the questions: “Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?” What a formula for happiness! What a prescription for contentment, for inner peace—to have inspired gratitude in another human being.
Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved. (Ibid)
Indeed, we have been told “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah 2:17)
Both an ancient prophet, Mosiah, and a modern prophet, Thomas S. Monson, have told us that we must serve our fellow man in order to draw closer to God. Service, as they point out, comes in many forms and ways. From a simple smile for a passerby to helping someone to rebuild their home, it can run the spectrum and on every part of that spectrum are points of service which fan that divine flame within you.
In studying the words of God, found in the books of scripture, we come to understand the mysteries of heaven and what is expected of us as we learn and instill the teachings of Christ in our lives.
In constant and humble prayer we learn to pour out our hearts and then to be still . . . and listen. And when we ask something of our Heavenly Father, we must be prepared to accept and act upon that answer.
In humility and sincerity we testify of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Redeemer of the World, and truth is then testified to us by the Spirit of God.
In all that we give to the Father and the Son it comes back to us a thousand times over and it brings us closer to being prepared for our return home.
Jesus Christ’s mission is a simple, yet eminently powerful one:
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)
If this is His glory, and it is, His entire purpose for descending from on high to give His life that we might live, then very little is being asked of us in making the most of who we are as sons and daughters of God. Start today. Take that first step and then another and another, never turn back.
“May we live so that when that final summons is heard, we may have no serious regrets, no unfinished business.” Thomas S. Monson