President Kevin J Worthen and Sister Peggy S. Worthen welcomed students back to campus with the first devotional of the semester. They spoke about spiritual gifts and eternal identities.
Find Your Spiritual Gifts
Sister Worthen spoke about sharing our gifts with others. She began by sharing a story about a family in her ward who shared their musical gifts. On Christmas Eve one year, the Kims came to the Worthens’ home and performed beautiful Christmas carols. At the end of the evening, they told the Worthens they would come again next year, but asked the Worthens to also prepare a musical number. When they came again a later year to perform, they asked the Worthens to also prepare a musical number.
The Worthens prepared a rendition of “Silent Night” in Korean. It took the Kims several moments until they realized the song was in Korean. Though the Worthens’ musical talents did not match the Kims, the Worthens had the talent of appreciating music.
Some gifts, like the Kims’, are obvious. Some, like the Worthens’ choir, are less obvious. But, Sister Worthen said, we all have gifts given to us, and we should seek to share and develop those gifts.
Sister Worthen suggested three ways we can develop our gifts. She said to pray, asking God to help us discover our gifts; to be more aware of the things we need to progress; and to ask for help in recognizing and responding to those needs.
“Our gifts are given to benefit others. If we want to discover and develop our gifts, we have to be willing to share them with others…. As we look for opportunities to uplift and bless others, we will likely find new gifts and talents that were lying dormant just waiting to be discovered through service,” said Sister Worthen.
Know Who You Are
As he began his remarks, President Worthen asked devotional attendees, “Do you know who you are?”
The answer, he said, is sometimes more complicated than it first appears. People often identify themselves with temporary or changeable terms – such as their year in school, a sport they play or an office they hold. According to President Worthen, these markers can be honest and valuable, but they only represent a portion of our identities.
Eternal identities, he shared, are outlined in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which declares that “Each [of us] is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.”
President Worthen said that this identity is powerful because “within each one of us, regardless of our own unique circumstances, challenges and even mistakes we have made, there is currently an essence of the divine.”
He shared the story of Moses, who listened as God explained their nature and relationship. When the time came that Satan tempted Moses, the knowledge Moses had of his divine identity gave him the power to resist temptation and eventually banish Satan from his life. President Worthen suggested that knowledge of our divine identity can give us similar power.
President Worthen said that we can also find power in two specific words from the The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The first is “beloved.” We are not only divine, but we are cherished by our Heavenly Parents. The other is “destiny.” “We not only have divinity in our nature, we have a divine, or godly, destiny,” said President Worthen.
President Worthen then outlined three steps to take when we feel that we are falling short of that eternal identity.
First, he reminded us that we are not alone. God has placed others in our lives to help sustain us, including family members, friends and people to serve. We can also rely on Christ to sustain us.
“Even if you feel truly bereft of human companionship, remember that you are never truly alone. Because of his great atoning sacrifice, Christ knows how we feel and he knows how to succor and strengthen us,” said President Worthen.
Second, he suggested that we need to be more patient with the process of becoming like God.
“We need to worry less about the speed at which we are moving and more about the direction,” said President Worthen.
As Alma noted, “time only is measured unto man.” Because speed is a measure of distance over time, if time becomes less relevant, so does speed. As long as we are on the right path – and making course corrections if necessary – God will make up the difference in his time.
Finally, President Worthen said that when we are feeling overwhelmed in our quest for perfection, we need to return to the idea of being beloved spirit sons or daughters of Heavenly Parents. We can ask God what He thinks of us.
President Worthen concluded with a quote from Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Next Devotional: Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will deliver the next BYU Devotional on Tuesday, January 15, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.
His remarks will also be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYU Radio.