President Russell M. Nelson has said to the youth of the Church, “My dear extraordinary youth, you were sent to earth at this precise time, the most crucial time in the history of the world, to help gather Israel. There is nothing happening on this earth right now that is more important than that. There is nothing of greater consequence. Absolutely nothing. This gathering should mean everything to you. This is the mission for which you were sent to earth” (“Hope of Israel”).
This message applies not just to the youth, but to every person who has found the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, has repented, and has accepted the ordinances of salvation. Sharing the gospel of Christ is not a hobby or a pastime we can pick up and put down whenever we feel like it. It is an imperative duty.
As my wedding day neared, I went to the nearest shopping mall to find a gift for my fiancée. One of the stores I visited was essentially a novelty shop full of various sorts of statuettes and other collectible items from a number of cultures. I was drawn to the displays that held horse sculptures because horses were—and continue to be—one of my fiancée’s favorite things.
A sculpture of a bay horse’s head caught my eye—possibly a Thoroughbred. The eyes looked dark and depthless. Its black mane swept downward and formed the support connecting the rest of the sculpture with the base. The paint work was expertly done. I thought she would love it, so I bought it.
Tangible fear had fallen on the executives of the company when the business analyst and her manager explained that their strategy to overtake their competition wouldn’t work. To correct course, they had decided to focus on new features in one of their top products; however, losing market share and revenue as they were, their new roadmap would take long enough to be realized that they would be out of business before the company became profitable again. To win the race against time, they would need money—money that just wasn’t there.
“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die, and it shall be well with us,” the prophet Nephi warned that many would say in the latter days (2 Nephi 28:7). The philosophy goes that you should enjoy yourself and satisfy your appetites because life is short. And some would add that “you can always repent.” Others focus on contemporary definitions of success and chase whatever promises the most cash the fastest.
By contrast, Jesus taught, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19–20). In other words, make an investment of your time and energy in those things that will secure you a place with Him.
The weather at the beach was especially beautiful that day, drawing an exceptionally large crowd of swimmers, surfers, and sunbathers. The lifeguard in his tower glanced periodically at the happy children building sandcastles and splashing in the shore break. He swept his eyes across the rolling surf and admired the style of an accomplished wave rider.
Most of the time, however, he focused his attention on the game on his cell phone. In three hours, he had advanced fifteen levels. Only three levels to go and he would beat the game. He reclined in the shade of the tower, his thumbs moving with lightning speed across the screen.
A commotion on the beach briefly caught his attention. Yells reached his ears, but he kept his eyes on the game as the action on the screen intensified. Calls for help interrupted his concentration for a moment, but he doubled down on his attention to the game, determined to pass the present obstacle and reach the next level.