The Word — Focus on what matters most

Published 9:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2022

Last week I went for a hike with my son, who recently returned from two years of missionary service split between Nashville, Tennessee and Villahermosa, Mexico due to Covid. Our goal was to visit Spy Rock near Montebello.

The hike to Spy Rock is relatively easy, only about three miles from the trailhead, with moderate elevation gain. With amazing 360-degree views, Spy Rock is one of the most beautiful spots in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While it is not the highest point, it provides a panoramic vista of mountains in every direction.

As with most hikes, and many things we do in life, we began with the end in mind. We knew our destination. We didn’t know perfectly the twists and turns, the switchbacks and steep inclines, but the idea of what we were working toward kept us going.

With that focus on the end goal, I was reminded of the Savior’s teaching that “if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matthew 6:22).

Recently Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke of the need to focus on Jesus Christ in our lives. He taught that too often, we treat Christ simply as another of many competing priorities that must be fit into our busy schedules and given equal time with other concerns.

Elder Uchtdorf stated:

“If we want to find balance in life, and if we want the Savior to lift us heavenward, then our commitment to Him and His gospel can’t be casual or occasional…

“Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not just one of many things we do. The Savior is the motivating power behind all that we do. He is not a rest stop in our journey. He is not a scenic byway or even a major landmark. He is ‘the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Jesus Christ].’ That is the Way and our ultimate destination.”

Elder Uchtdorf went on to compare balance in life to riding a bicycle. While riding a bike takes time and practice, eventually we learn to balance by focusing on the destination ahead and pedaling. “Staying balanced,” he taught, “is all about moving forward.”

Finding life’s balance looks different for each of us, but when we focus on our Savior Jesus Christ, His teachings and example, and His infinite atoning sacrifice for us, all other distractions, diversions, priorities and problems fall into proper perspective.

In the words of the children’s song “I’m Trying To Be Like Jesus”:

“I’m trying to be like Jesus;

I’m following in His ways.

I’m trying to love as He did, in all that I do and say…

“Love one another as Jesus loves you.

Try to show kindness in all that you do.

Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought.

For these are the things Jesus taught.”

DR. BRENT ROBERTS is the Branch President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.