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BYU-Idaho devotional: 'The best of times'

Never in the history of the world has the instruction to pursue the ultimate treasures of eternal value been more critical or more timely than today, Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy said during a campus devotional at BYU-Idaho on June 18. Speaking in the BYU-Idaho Center, Elder Corbridge asked students the question, "What do you want?"

"I don't mean what should you want, rather what do you really want?" he asked. "What do you think about most? What most influences the decisions you make? What are your predominate desires?"

Sharing an experience he had while attending a meeting with President Thomas S. Monson, Elder Corbridge said that the prophet talked specifically about the young adults of the Church. President Monson expressed both his admiration and concern, and speaking about the times in which young adults live today he borrowed these familiar lines penned by Charles Dickens: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. ..."

"True to the charge the Prophet of the Lord gave to me I would like to help you understand how your time is the best of times depending on what you want and what you do," Elder Corbridge said. "Our day is unlike any time before. We have so much more, so much more of both good and evil than any day before. From one extreme to the other, we live in the dispensation of the fullness of times both as to evil as well as for good."

Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy speaks during a campus devotional at BYU-Idaho on June 18, 2013.
Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy speaks during a campus devotional at BYU-Idaho on June 18, 2013. Photo: Photo by Taylor Davenport, BYU-Idaho

Unlike any other time, "everything is before us," Elder Corbridge said, recognizing that the full spectrum from the depths of darkness and evil to supernal splendor, brilliance, beauty, magnificence, grandeur, glory and exaltation and everything in between are available. With that accessibility, never in the history of the world has the instruction of the Savior to seek after "treasures in heaven" — things of eternal value — been so important, he said.

"Never in the history of the world has this instruction to pursue the ultimate treasures of eternal value been more critical or more timely than it is today," he said. "Never has it been easier to get lost in little things. Never has there been a time in which more has been available, more goods, more gadgets, events, shows, choices, activities, alternatives and especially more information and more misinformation than ever before. In such a flood of information and things, the challenge is not only sift between good and evil, rather sort between the mundane and the monumental as well."

Elder Corbridge shared some of the things that "matter most."

The most important thing

"Of all of the information and all of the knowledge available to mankind through the internet, or in books, encyclopedias or in all of books and documents in all the libraries of the world combined, is there something that surpasses all other things in importance?" he asked. Drawing from the words of the prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon when he taught about the Savior and His Atonement he said that "there is one thing which is of more importance than they all."

"The most important thing is to partake of the fruit of the tree of life, that is, to be forgiven of your sins and endowed with the power of the Holy Ghost," he taught. "The gifts of the Atonement, to be forgiven of your sins and to be endowed with God's power, coupled with the gift of eternal life are the greatest of all of the gifts of God."

Hear and follow the word of the Lord

Drawing from the account of Mary and Martha in the New Testament, Elder Corbridge spoke of how some decisions aren't just a question of right and wrong, rather of good, better or best.

"What Martha was doing was a good thing, but she had a tendency to become distracted by good things at the expense of the best things," he said. "In response to her complaint, the Lord made this astonishing statement, 'one thing is needful,' that is, to hear His word, and to follow the word of the Lord."

Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy speaks during a campus devotional at BYU-Idaho on June 18, 2013.
Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy speaks during a campus devotional at BYU-Idaho on June 18, 2013. Photo: Photo by Amy Stokes, BYU-Idaho

A Godly character

Individuals should want to become like the Lord, he said. "As you 'hear and follow the word of the Lord' you become more like Him. Little by little the qualities and attributes of His character become a part of your character, a part of who you are.

"The question is not how much you can get away with in this life or how close you can walk the line and still be good, rather the ultimate question is, 'who are you and who are you in the process of becoming?' Don't walk the line; don't walk in the middle."

Fruitful

Individuals should want to make a difference, Elder Corbridge said. Drawing from the Sermon on the Mount where the Lord says, "ye shall know them by their fruits," Elder Corbridge emphsized that the purpose of the Father's plan is not only that individuals be redeemed of sin and endowed with power from on high, but that by the power of the Holy Ghost individuals can help others partake of the fruits of the tree of life — the most important thing — and make a difference.

Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy speaks during a campus devotional at BYU-Idaho on June 18, 2013.
Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy speaks during a campus devotional at BYU-Idaho on June 18, 2013. Photo: Photo by Amy Stokes, BYU-Idaho

"The greatest gifts are equally available to everyone," he said. "In every other endeavor we are disparately advantaged or disadvantaged, but in regard to the most important things, everything that really matters there is no disparity. No one is disadvantaged. All have absolutely the same access to what is most important. No more and no less than anyone else."

Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy speaks during a campus devotional at BYU-Idaho on June 18, 2013. Wednesday, June 19, 2013.
Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge of the Seventy speaks during a campus devotional at BYU-Idaho on June 18, 2013. Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Photo: Photo by Amy Stokes, BYU-Idaho

The Lord invites all to come unto Him and partake of the Atonement. Because of that, the future is bright, Elder Corbridge taught.

"There is precious little in this life that matters very much, but there are a few things that are monumentally important and they are equally available to everyone," he said. "Seek after those things and your time will be the best of times, the age of wisdom, the epoch of belief, the season of light, and the spring of hope. Everything is before you. All you have to do is choose the best."

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