Messages of inspiration from President Thomas S. Monson
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The race of life
Each of us, my young brothers and sisters, is a runner in the race of life. Comforting is the fact that there are many runners. Reassuring is the knowledge that our eternal Scorekeeper is understanding. Challenging is the truth that each must run. But you and I do not run alone. That vast audience of family, friends and leaders will cheer our courage, will applaud our determination as we rise from our stumblings and pursue our goal. The race of life is not for sprinters running on a level track. The course is marked by pitfalls and checkered with obstacles. …
Let us shed any thought of failure. Let us discard any habit that may hinder. Let us seek; let us obtain the prize prepared for all, even exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God. — "Happiness — The Universal Quest," Church Educational System Devotional for Young Adults, March 7, 1993
Some spurn effort and substitute an alibi. We hear the plea, "I was denied the advantages others had in their youth." And then we remember the caption which Webster, the cartoonist, placed under a sketch of Abraham Lincoln's log cabin: "Ill-housed, ill-fed, ill-clothed."
Others say, "I am physically limited." History is replete with people possessing physical limitations. Homer could have sat at the gates of Athens, have been pitied and fed by coins from the rich. He, like Milton the poet, and Prescott the historian, had good alibis — they were blind. Demosthenes, greatest of all great orators, had a wonderful alibi — his lungs were weak, his voice hoarse and unmusical and he stuttered. Beethoven was stone deaf at middle age. They all had good alibis — but they never used them. — "In Quest of the Abundant Life," Utah State University Baccalaureate, June 2, 1967
Faith as a mustard seed
Whereas doubt destroys, faith fulfills. It brings one closer to God and to His purposes. Faith implies a certain trust — even a reliance — upon the word of our Creator.
The scriptures are replete with examples of true faith. They tell of Abraham leading his beloved son Isaac to a mountaintop, of Moses stretching forth his hand at the Red Sea, Peter taking his first few tentative steps upon the Sea of Galilee, and Joseph Smith kneeling in a shady grove in New York. The promise of Jesus, in which he said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed" (Matthew 17:20), takes on added significance when we recognize that faith at this level is complete and all-consuming. — "Each Must Choose," Manchester England Area Conference, Aug. 29, 1971
The calling of the early Apostles reflected the influence of the Lord. When He sought a man of faith, He did not select him from the throng of the self-righteous who were found regularly in the synagogue. Rather, He called him from among the fishermen of Capernaum. Peter, Andrew, James, and John heard the call, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). They followed. Simon, the man of doubt, became Peter, Apostle of faith.
When the Savior was to choose a missionary of zeal and power, He found him not among His advocates but amidst His adversaries. Saul of Tarsus — the persecutor — became Paul the proselyter. The Redeemer chose imperfect men to teach the way to perfection He did so then; He does so now.
He calls you and me to serve Him here below and sets us to the task He would have us fulfill. The commitment is total. There is no conflict of conscience.
As we follow that Man of Galilee — even the Lord Jesus Christ — our personal influence will be felt for good wherever we are, whatever our callings. — "Your Personal Influence," Ensign, May 2004, p. 20
Each of us has the responsibility to find out for himself or herself that this gospel of Jesus Christ is true. If we study the scriptures and put the teachings to the test, then we shall know the truthfulness of the doctrine, for this is our promise.
Once we have such knowledge, it is up to us to decide what we will do with it. — "Life's Greatest Decisions," Church Educational System Devotional Satellite Broadcast, Sept. 7, 2003