When people ask you how you’re doing and what you’ve been doing lately, what is your pat answer? Let me know if this sounds familiar: “Oh, I’ve been busy doing stuff; I’m involved in this, and this, and this, and this, and I just never have any time anymore!” We are a busy bunch of people; always hurrying around, but here’s the question: what are we accomplishing of value?
Elder L. Tom Perry’s talk, this past Conference, called “Let Him Do It With Simplicity”, is a wonderful guide for us, and causes great meditative thoughts to surface…that is if you take the time to ponder them.
The basis for his talk is four areas of importance that everyone must consider in life: food, clothing, shelter, and fuel. Elder Perry takes each one in a different direction, however. In order for us to understand what he is REALLY saying, we need to switch gears a little bit, and open our hearts and minds enough to ponder and meditate and ultimately accept these ideas.
FOOD: He focuses on the Word of Wisdom. How many of us are overweight? How many of us go to bed late, and get up late? How about that awful word: exercise?? Are we still battling the saga of caffeinated drinks: Coke, Monster, teas, etc?
CLOTHING: There are fancy clothes that tend to be uncomfortable to wear, but boy, do I look great in them! Then there are grungy clothes that we throw on and hope we don’t see anyone we know…and we usually do. Modesty has nothing to do with dull and boring. Modesty is about respect, decency, and how you view yourself before the Lord. Not only should our clothing be modest; our attitude, and our viewpoints should be modest. Clothes really do express our personalities and attitudes. Have you ever looked at your wardrobe to see how you are portraying yourself in public? Does it say who you really are?
SHELTER: Everyone needs a place to live, but there is a wide variance as to what is MODEST and needful. And what about everything needed to fill the space we live in? What about the cars parked in front of the abode? The question isn’t what do you deserve or even need. The question should be what will keep you focused on the more important things of life.
FUEL: Elder Perry focuses on spiritual fuel. Are we feeding our souls enough?
Well, isn’t that the real question in all of this? How much of the world have we allowed to steal away our time, interests, and money?
I don’t need to point fingers anywhere, except toward a mirror maybe. It isn’t easy to turn from the world and it isn’t always easy to obey perfectly. But the prophets have spoken, and it is up to us to listen. If you don’t mind, let me just express some thoughts that I have pondered.
Life is full of wonderful things, too many things, for one person to thoroughly enjoy in one lifetime. We must learn to be selective with the things that are right for us, personally. We cannot expect to have what our neighbor has. We cannot have it all. We should reach our full potential only with the guidelines the Lord has reserved for us.
And the Lord has reserved wonderful things for each one of us to enjoy, on a personal level, because He wants us to be happy, on this world, as well as the world to come.
As we look at the four areas Elder Perry touches on (and forego the minutiae that clutters these areas), we will have the time, and common sense, to see what the Lord has given us. Each one of our needs will be different. But each area will define us, fulfill us, and bring us closer to our Father in Heaven, whom we long to please. And by pleasing Him, we please ourselves.
Sometimes, when I’m frustrated because I don’t have time for ME, the thought enters my mind: Jesus Christ never had any hobbies. His life was to fulfill the Will of the Father, and his mission was focused from beginning to end. Heavenly Father doesn’t require that from us, but He does ask for something. By foregoing our “selfish” desires and offering more obedience in the guidelines the Lord has set, we will, very simply, have more time to ponder and recognize the important things in life, and relish the happiness they bring.