Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke at Tuesday’s BYU Devotional. She talked about taking advantage of the opportunities we have in life to develop things we can take with us into the eternities.
Sister Craig began by talking about her experience as a student at BYU. While at BYU, she learned the value of her time and that she should use it to lift up others, keep her covenants and prepare for future challenges. Later, she heard a quote from Thomas S. Monson that changed how she thought about time.
Quoting Edward Young, President Monson reminded Sister Craig to take advantage of her time. He said, “This is my day of opportunity. I will not waste it.”
Sister Craig put that quote on her refrigerator to motivate her. She later added a Jeffrey R. Holland quote that helped her understand how to make the most of her time.
Elder Holland said, “As near as I can tell, you can take three things: You can take your character, including what you’ve learned, what you’ve done – who you have become. To build character is one of the purposes for which we are here. You can take the ordinances of the gospel. Because of the ordinances, the third thing that we pray we can take, and plan to take and want to take, is our family.”
Many years ago, Sister Craig’s husband served in a YSA bishopric at BYU. While he attended to those responsibilities, she took their young children to church. She felt that most of her Sunday was filled with breaking up fights, cleaning up messes and entertaining small children. She did not feel like she was spiritually progressing.
One night, she read Doctrine and Covenants 64:33: “Wherefore, be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” This scripture made her realize that her efforts–to raise her children, to go to church, to read her scriptures–were helping her develop character.
“God will be with you in the great work that lies ahead of you, whatever it is…. If you listen to that small voice, truly great things will proceed in your own life. The influence of the Holy Ghost will change your character and you will find that, whatever your path, you will not have wasted your day of opportunity,” she said.
Sister Craig reminded attendees that the Prophet has urged them to make the temple a priority. While we cannot control everything in our lives, she suggested that we can control if and how we participate in gospel ordinances and covenants. If we make those efforts, God will help us with the other aspects of our lives.
“Spending time receiving sacred ordinances and making and renewing covenants will bless every area of our lives. We can have faith in the Lord’s arithmetic, that He will multiply and magnify our efforts when we make ordinances and covenants a priority,” she said.
“If we have nourished family relationships, when hard things happen, and they will, we will withstand the hard times and can continue enjoying the fruits that loving family relationships produce,” said Sister Craig.
One important way to nourish family relationships is to spend time with our family members. Sister Craig shared a story about a mother who spent quality time with her son. When this young mother got home from a long day, she wanted to do the dishes, take a shower and go to bed. But when her son asked her to help him find a toy, she said, “Dishes, you have to wait.” As she went downstairs with her son he said, “Mom, you love me more than dishes, huh?”
“You may not face this same situation. Your challenge may not be sinks and toys. But even today, this week, you will have the chance to lift and support and heal others. You can forge relationships that heal and encourage and redeem,” said Sister Craig.
“Whatever your challenges, look up and see others around you. Don’t see only the dirty dishes – the problem sets to finish, chapters to read, finals to take. Notice those around who need help.”
Sister Craig concluded by saying, “This earth life is so short in the eternal scheme, but it determines so much. It is our ‘day of opportunity.’ Use it well and you will have opportunities you never dreamed of.”