Sister Neill F. Marriott, former Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. She spoke on the process of focusing on the Savior, receiving His strength and becoming more like Him.
A story from Sister Marriott’s childhood illustrates how to stay diligently focused. Every summer in Louisiana, Sister Marriott and her siblings would patiently wait for their father to come home from work and drive them to the public pool. Despite the hot sidewalk and other distractions, the children firmly fixed their gaze on the street and waited attentively for their father’s green Ford to round the corner.
“Why did we three young kids stay so sharply focused? … Because we knew our father. Because we knew he loved us and had felt his love. Because he kept his promises – so we trusted him.”
We need to know, understand and trust the Lord if we want to faithfully focus on Him. If we are struggling to know Christ or feel His love, we should reflect on the amount of time we spend with Him.
“What is the ratio of time we spend between making time for the Lord and making time for the world? … If we only depend on the world and its answers, we are going to be disappointed sooner or later. Spiritual wisdom, real peace, healing and godly discernment come to us from Jesus Christ, through the Holy Ghost – not from opinions of the world."
Sister Marriott shared more stories from the lives of her family members and Noelle Pikus-Pace, silver medal Olympian, to reaffirm that our focus must be rooted in Christ because He has the strength we need.
“He is mightier than our fears, our disappointments, our weariness and even the deep wounds of our heart! He is the great healer and guide through our deep waters; He waits for us to come to Him.”
However, turning towards Christ can’t be a half-hearted gesture. Recounting a scary moment when she was thrown into dangerous rapids while rafting, Sister Marriott explained that serious strength and focus were required to safely paddle back to her raft, and genuine effort is also required to stay close to Christ.
“We invite power and faith into our lives by our wholehearted allegiance to Christ.”
Complete allegiance may sound intimidating or impossible, but Sister Marriott insisted that devotion to Christ does not require perfection. She learned this truth when the Spirit prompted her to speak without relying on her notes for a Portuguese stake conference.
“The Lord will take our earnest – though meager – offering, be it two small fish and a few small barley loaves or weak Portuguese … and turn it into a nourishing, spiritual meal – if we come with focused purpose to Him for help.”
As we increase our focus on Christ through trusting Him, diminishing worldly influences and exerting genuine efforts, Sister Marriott promised that we will, step by step, become like Him.
Next devotional Tracy Flinders, vice president of information technology and chief information officer at BYU, will deliver the next devotional address on Tuesday, May 10, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.
His remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org (and archived for on-demand streaming), KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio 107.9 FM and SiriusXM 143. Video, text and audio are archived on speeches.byu.edu.