Sunday, December 6, 2009

Good, Better, Best

Our lives are filled with many choices and, as part of His plan for us, Our Heavenly Father has given us agency that we may choose do many things of our own free will and bring to pass much righteousness (see D&C 58:27). In order to bring to pass much righteousness and live a full, rewarding, and happy life, we must make choices between good and bad decisions. However, not all our choices that effect our lives are decisions between good and bad; some decisions that affect our eternal potential and happiness concern only good choices. Many good situations, people, and activities compete for our time, leaving us needing to prioritize in order to accomplish all that we wish to accomplish and reach our eternal potential.

In his General Conference talk in October 2007, the apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave a talk entitled, "Good, Better, Best," concerning the decisions we make in this life. In his talk, he explained that we do not have enough time in this life to do all of the good things there are to do. He counseled:

"As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all."

He continued:

"We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families."

Keeping the commandments and striving to do that which the Lord expects is hard and we absolutely have to give up some good things in order to be anxiously engaged in the better and best things.

Some of the good-better-best decisions in our lives are similar to the ones described in this talk. Listen to Elder Oaks' counsel and let the Spirit help you know how you can best apply these principles in your own lives. Some of the good-better-best decisions in our lives are not described in his talk. Think about some of the things you do in your life that are good such as striving to be honest, making a living for yourself and your family, and believing in God. Make the distinction between good things and not-bad things. I believe one mentality that many of us posess is that as long as we don't do bad things, we're fine. Of course not breaking the law or not taking advantage of our neighbor is good. But we must also do good, better, and best things. We can't just not do bad things, we must be anxiously engaged in a good cause, we must go to church, we must act on our faith in God, we must strive to better our situations and look for opportunities to serve those around us. Just because you aren't doing bad things or making bad decisions does not mean you can coast through life and still qualify for the greatest of all the gifts of God, even eternal life (see D&C 14:7). Seek out the better and best things, they aren't hard to find although they may be hard to do, at least initially. But the promised blessings are so incredibly worth everything we forego.

As we follow the counsel in this talk and the counsel of other apostles and prophets modern and ancient, we will know how to decide which choices are better and best for us. As we pray for direction, guidance, and strength, we will be able to sacrifice some of the good choices so that we may make better and best choices. Power in making correct decisions comes from keeping an eternal perspective.

Jeremy