Sacrament Meeting Talk | BYU 113th Ward
It is a delight to speak today. If you’d be so kind to pray for me, and I’ll pray for you, then perhaps the Spirit will guide me to say what our Lord would have me say, and you’ll hear blessings, comfort and counsel meant just for you. And we will be together edified, having met to renew covenants and show with more than words that our love for the Lord and each other is real.
Brothers and sisters, there are 8760 hours in a year. Figuring each day the average American spends roughly
- 8 hours working,
- 7.5 hours | sleeping,
- 1 hour & 15 min eating,
- 45 min showering and personal grooming,
- 30 min | exercising,
- 1 hour | laundry, cleaning, dishes and other business around the house,
- 30 min reading or in self-education,
- 2 hours watching TV,
- 30 minutes corresponding via phone/e-mail/text/social network,
- 30 min buying things, and
- 1.5 hours | traveling to and fro,
that leaves about 840 hours of “discretionary” time remaining for the year. Now, some of these numbers are my estimates,1 but others come directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.2
And perhaps going through this list you thought of other items important to you that I did not include.
Well let me add a few. As a “good,” active Latter-day Saint, you “should” be spending
- 15 min/day studying scriptures,
- 15 min/month calculating and preparing tithes and fast offerings,
- 15 min/day in personal morning, evening—and the occasional day-time—prayer,
- 4 hours/month attending the temple,
- 4 hours/month preparing lessons and visiting people for Home and Visiting Teaching,
- 30 min/day rounding up the family and having morning and evening family prayer,
- 3.5 hours/week for the Sunday meetings block,
- 30 min/week reading and preparing for Sunday School,
- 30 min/week reading and preparing for Priesthood/RS,
- 2 hours/week performing your calling—at least one of those hours is spent in a meeting,
- 2 hours/month genealogy research,
- 2 hours/every other month finding people for the missionaries to teach or accompanying them to lessons, and of course
- 6 or more hours once/year … preparing to speak in church.
All this sums to 844 hours of activity, or about 101% of your “discretionary” time.
Now brothers and sisters, you are no “average” American—you are spectacular children of God—but there is just no way to do it all.
The key is balance: to do what is best,3 to do it in order, running only as fast as you have strength.4
“What is impossible for you is possible with God’s help in His service,” President Eyring said.5
In His service, you can beat the limits of time and perform miracles.
Make time to serve, always
“If we have not yet learned,” said Brigham Young, “that poverty, sickness, pain, want, disappointment, losses, crosses, or even death, should not move us one hair’s breadth form the service of God […] it is a lesson we have to learn.”6
I recall learning this lesson during the first weekend of my first year at BYU. I woke up one morning feeling sick and decided to stay bed. Later, I still didn’t feel well and couldn’t even keep down the lunch my roommate was so kind to have gotten for me. Sometime in the afternoon, the numbers 139 and 19 penetrated my mind. Half asleep, I stumbled out of bed and wrote the numbers down, then fell asleep again.
When I got out of bed, I saw my note and thought the numbers might refer to a verse in the Doctrine & Covenants. Despite four years in seminary, I didn’t know there is no 139th section. So I did the next best thing and rolled back to section 138. I read verse 19.
“And there he [being Jesus] preached unto them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall…”7
I later wrote in my journal, “Lesson learned. I, even in my sick condition, am to preach the gospel wherever I am.”8
In the face of poverty, sickness, pain, disappointment and death, there is strength enough for more than words to show you feel that your love for God and His children is real.
The best service is simple: homes, neighborhoods and wards
It’s easy, brothers and sisters; it is. More than words is all you have to do to make it real.
All around us lie simple opportunities to serve. In October 2007, Elder Michael J. Teh said, “much of the service needed in the world today relates to our day-to-day associations with each other. Often we find these opportunities within the confines of our own home, neighborhood, and ward.”9
Your home and visiting students need to hear more than, “when’s a good time we can see you this month?” or “call us if you need anything.” Drop by on your way home from school or work. Or send them something you found that relates to their interests or an issue they are dealing with. Then from more than words, our ward members will know that you do love them.
In “The Last Lecture,” Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch said, while battling cancer, “It’s a thrill to fulfill your own childhood dreams, but as you get older, you may find that enabling the dreams of others is even more fun.”10
Through his final years, Pausch shared many words through his book and speaking engagements. But it was his demonstrated optimism and determination to do good to the end that were more than words, enough to show his love for his neighbor is real.
You’ll invite the Spirit and make more a home than an apartment if you say to your roommates more than good morning, goodnight and “did you get the mail?” You’ll notice today that my roommate, Andy, has returned from 2.5 months of military training. Another roommate—who I presume is not given to throwing parties or decorating—printed a simple sign and hung it on our door: “Welcome Home Cadet Villagran.” And it was more than words when, upon seeing Andy, this roommate cheered and threw his arms around him.
In our crunch of time, it is tempting to reduce everything we ought to do to an exchange of words. If tweeting your testimony along with a tiny URL to the First Presidency Ensign message counted for home or visiting teaching, we could drastically cut the 844 hours of “standard LDS service time,” allowing you more time to pursue your interests and further recreation. But that just won’t do.
From the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John:
“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?”
“Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”
“Feed my sheep.”11
To feed each other with the bread of life requires more than the passage of words through our ears or across our eyes. In Jesus’ Bread of Life sermon in John 6, Jesus challenged the faithfulness of so-called disciples who were more interested in free food and “feel good” words.12
Commenting on Jesus sending out the 12 in Matthew 10, James E. Talmage says, “He would have only genuine disciples, not enthusiasts of a day[—or, I add, “friends” who only click “I like this”—]ready to desert His cause when effort and sacrifice were most needed. Thus did He sift the people.”13
More than words
Some of you may have recognized a phrase I’ve repeated from a song by an early 90s metal band. Well, that band also wrote a nice little love tune called, “More than Words.” Now, the Savior never said these words, but please imagine for a moment that He did.
Saying “I love you”
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It’s not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew how easy
It would be to show me how you feel
More than words
Is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
‘Cause I’d already know
What would you do if my heart was torn in two?
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away?
Then you couldn’t make things new
Just by saying “I love you”
More than words
Now that I’ve tried to talk to you
And make you understand
All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands
And touch me
Hold me close, don’t ever let me go
More than words is all I ever needed you to show
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me,
‘Cause I’d already know14
It was with more than words that Jesus walked into a garden, bent His knees and had His heart torn in two. Yes, He spoke words as He prayed. But it was more than words that He drank the bitter cup, hung on the cross and died in agony. In more than words, He sent prophets in every age to talk to us and help us understand that all we have to do is close our eyes and reach out our hands. With more than words, He opened His hands and His feet for everyone in the Nephite multitude to touch.15
Living the great commandment
“If ye love me, [more than words,] keep my commandments,” He says.16
And, “which is the great commandment in the law?”
“Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Notice, He does not command, “and with all thy mouth.” It was He who inspired the Proverb, “as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.”17
Again did He say, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart…”18
“And the second [great commandment] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”19
Then you wouldn’t have to say…
When you and I live and love with more than words, trumpets and fanfare will not be needed to announce that we are a “city that is set on a hill [and] cannot be hid.”20
You will perform simple acts of kindness and not feel the need to say anything about it. Your more-than-lip-service love will radiate and warm the hearts of your family, neighbors and fellow saints. And they will follow in your footsteps, repenting and serving their way to the Savior and His kingdom.
When the day comes that you arrive at the Kingdom of God with Christ enthroned and exalted, then you won’t have to say that you love Him, ‘cause He’ll already know.
I know, from more than the words in the scriptures, that God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ love me…
Please don’t allow the crunch of time to discourage you. You won’t be able to do it all, but you can do your very best.21
With a little more than words, others will know your love for them is real. And that will make all the difference22 to them, to our Father who is King, and to Jesus who is Lord over all.
- “LDS Time.”
- U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Charts from the American Time Use Survey.”
- Dallin H. Oaks. “Good, Better, Best.” Ensign, Nov 2007, 104–8
- Mosiah 4:27
- Henry B. Eyring. “God Helps the Faithful Priesthood Holder.” Ensign, Nov 2007, 55–58
- Young, Brigham. “Comprehensiveness of True Religion—The Saints But Stewards.” A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered at Great Salt Lake City, December 5, 1853. Journal of Discourses, 1:336. Reported By: G. D. Watt
- Doctrine and Covenants 138:19
- “Fall 2004.” Emphasis added. Journal, June 2006, 121
- Michael J. Teh, “Out of Small Things,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 35–37
- Pausch, Randy. The Last Lecture. Hyperion: New York. 2008, 117
- John 21:16
- John 6:47-71
- Talmage, James E. Jesus the Christ. Emphasis added. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Salt Lake City, Utah. 1981, 421
- Cherone, Gary and Nuno Bettencourt. “More than Words.” Extreme, 1990
- 3 Nephi 11:14-16, emphasis added
- John 14:15
- Proverbs 23:7
- Matthew 15:18
- Matthew 22:36-39
- Matthew 5:14
- Hinckley, Gordon B. “Standing Strong and Immovable.” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, 10 Jan. 2004, 21 quoted in Staheli, Donald L. “Securing Our Testimonies.” General Conference, Oct 2004
- Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken.” The Poetry of Robert Frost. Henry Holt and Company: New York. 1979, p. 105, l. 20