Concentrate on flowers, not on the thorns of life

At the April 1991 general conference, Elder James E. Faust, now second counselor in the First Presidency, described the acres of roses that grow in Roselandia, Brazil. "When one stands on a small hill above the rose fields, the aroma is delightful and the beauty is exhilarating," Elder Faust said. "The thorns on the bushes are there, but they in no way lessen the enjoyment of the sight and the smell.

"I would challenge all to put the thorns, slivers, and thistles we encounter in life in proper perspective. We should deal with them but then concentrate on the flowers of life, not on the thorns. We should savor the smell and beauty of the flower of the rose and the cactus. To savor the sweet aroma of the blossoms, we need to live righteous and disciplined lives in which the study of the scriptures, prayer, right priorities, and right attitudes are integrated into our lives. For members of this church, that focus sharpens inside of our temples. We will all surely encounter some of the thorns, but they are only incidental to the sweet fragrances and exquisite beauty of the blooms. Did not the Savior say: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?' (Matt. 7:16.)"Thomas Carlyle, a British writer, stated,Every noble crown is, and on Earth will forever be, a crown of thorns.' (Past and Present [London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1912], 3:173.) The ancient Latin phrase sic transit gloria mundi means thus passes away the glory of this world.' Earthly rewards can be a sore temptation. In contrast, those who are faithful and are committed to service are promised that they will becrowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life.' (D&C 75:5.) Thus, neither honors nor trials can defeat. Paul spoke of an incorruptible crown (see 1 Cor. 9:25), and James spoke of the faithful receiving a crown of life.' (James 1:12.) John the Revelator counseled,Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.' " (Rev. 3:11.)

Elder Faust said that he believed that earthly crowns such as power, the love of money, the preoccupation with material things, the honors of men are a crown of thorns because they are based upon obtaining and receiving rather than giving. "So selfishness can make what we think is a noble crown into a crown of thorns beyond our power to endure," he said. "When I first started my professional career, one of the senior members in our office asked another senior member for some help on a legal matter. The other man who was asked to help was gifted and able but also selfish. He replied, What's in it for me?' Thewhat's in it for me?' philosophy is basically what's wrong with the world. It is surely one of the sharpest points in a crown of thorns."

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