Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered Tuesday’s campus Devotional address about the difference between good and essential, and the importance of thoughtful preparation.
Bishop Waddell began by giving background on the role of the Presiding Bishopric. Each member of the bishopric is ordained a bishop and holds keys associated with the Aaronic Priesthood. The Presiding Bishopric is in charge of temporal matters of the Church, including welfare, humanitarian work, temple construction, church finances and the publishing of all online and print publications from the Church.
“If you were to consolidate what we have been commissioned to do into one phrase, it would be ‘prepare the way,’” Bishop Waddell said.
In his study of how best to magnify his calling, Bishop Waddell began to think about preparation. Pointing to the parable of the ten virgins, he pointed out that the virgins in the story were not told when they needed to be ready, they were only told to prepare for the day when it comes.
“Are you ready?” is a phrase asked often in reference to life events such as exams, missions, temple recommends or marriage. Preparation is required in order to be ready to complete the task at hand.
“‘Are you ready?’ does not mean ‘are you perfect?’” said Bishop Waddell. “And since this is not a contest, it surely doesn’t mean ‘are you better than your neighbor?’ It’s a matter of doing your best to prepare for whatever is next in our life, planned or unplanned, and relying on the Lord to make up the difference for whatever we lack.”
Bishop Waddell spoke about traveling to Jerusalem on a Presiding Bishopric assignment. As a history major, he was excited to learn of the exact spots where Jesus performed miracles. Along the tour, Bishop Waddell became frustrated when the tour guide kept adding, ‘or somewhere nearby,’ when pointing out landmarks and locations.
“I started to become annoyed when, in an instant, I received a strong correction from the Spirit,” Bishop Waddell said. “In my mind I clearly heard the words, ‘Chris, stop it. Stop it now. It’s not where it happened that’s important, it’s that it happened.”
This experience helped him to understand some things are good, but some things are essential, like having a testimony of the event of Christ’s miracle itself.
Bishop Waddell shared three “essentials,” promising that those in attendance would be blessed if they would apply them: temple worship, reading the Book of Mormon and partaking of the Sacrament.
The temple points its patrons toward the Savior, Jesus Christ. Attending the temple regularly brings blessings and increases the ability to apply the lessons taught inside.
“In a world that is increasingly secular and spiritually confusing, the House of the Lord serves as an oasis in a spiritual desert,” he said.
Reading the Book of Mormon
An essential part of conversion is gaining a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true.
“The world is in such a state that we need a constant renewal of the spiritual strength and converting power provided by the Book of Mormon, even if we have already experienced a change of heart,” Bishop Waddell said.
He taught that it is not the number of times we have read the book cover-to-cover that matters, but how we apply the principles to become more like the Savior.
Partaking of the Sacrament
The sacrament is the primary purpose of Sunday worship.
“We have the privilege of symbolically taking into our hands the emblems of his death, reminders of his great atoning sacrifice, made for each of us,” Bishop Waddell said.
Although the ordinance takes only a few minutes each week, it is an opportunity to be cleansed and sanctified and can provide strength for the week ahead.
Bishop Waddell closed by reiterating the importance of preparation by doing the essential things as often as we can. The things done in private set children of God apart from the world and emphasize their divine purpose and lineage.
“As you focus on the essential, and trust in the Lord, you will be ready!” he said. “You will be prepared to take your place in a career, in a family and to serve in His Kingdom. You were prepared for this team in the history of creation, to help gather Israel and prepare for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ. He trusts you.”
Next Devotional: Performance Devotional
A selection of BYU’s favorite performing groups will perform and inspire on November 12, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.
The performances will not be broadcast.