Pulling out his cell phone to show his audience in the Marriot Center on BYU campus, Elder José A. Teixeira of the Presidency of the Seventy began his devotional address with a quote from his April 2015 general conference address — “Life is not confined to a four-inch screen.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, as he held up his newly upgraded phone with its 6.5-inch screen, Elder Teixeira laughed with students at the small change and said, “Nonetheless, the statement remains true: ‘Life is not confined to a screen, no matter the size.’”
Accompanied by his wife, Sister Filomena Teles Grilo Teixeira, Elder Teixeira underscored three lessons and principles that can help individuals find joy and fulfillment in their lives, make inspired decisions and set wise priorities.
Speaking of the many decisions and changes he has experienced throughout his life and career, Elder Teixeira told students: “The same will be true for each of you. In your own unique way, you will undoubtedly have to make decisions and choices and set priorities that will shape your lives.”
As students, Elder Teixeira said, their particular stage of life is an important time to make inspired decisions and set wise priorities.
“Your priorities of today will be your joy and fulfillment of tomorrow,” he said.
1. Find what really matters
Elder Teixeira shared a story from his wife’s youth, when her family was forced to leave their home and possessions in Angola and return to Portugal due to an outbreak of war. Although the family lost a great deal, their return to Portugal brought them the knowledge of the gospel as they were taught by the missionaries there.
The changes for Sister Teixeria’s family may have felt like a loss at the time, but the blessings they received from the knowledge of the gospel changed their lives for the better, he explained.
“Our most important priority will always be to do those things that will enable us to return to our Heavenly Father,” he said.
2. Do what's right — not necessarily what's popular
Sharing a second story of how his own family came to find the gospel when he was 16 years old, Elder Teixeira explained that despite heavy opposition from friends and neighbors, his family decided to listen to the missionaries and subsequently join the Church and be sealed as a family in the temple.
“Popular views or the conduct of others should not deter or constrain us from doing what we know is right,” he said.
3. Don't underestimate the value of faith
Sharing a short fable about a bird, Elder Teixeira explained the importance of faith and the small things that help build a spiritual foundation. In the fable, a bird met with a traveling man each day and would trade one of his precious feathers —necessary to help him fly — for the delight of an easy meal of fresh worms.
Thinking that one feather at a time couldn’t possibly do much damage, the bird soon discovered that he had traded all his feathers to the traveling man and, unable to fly, he became prisoner to the young traveler.
Elder Teixeira likened the feathers — essential to fly — to one’s faith and spiritual beliefs — essential to reach one’s divine potential.
"If we trade our beliefs for worldly pleasures," he said, "we jeopardize our capacity to fly.”
The right priorities
The way each individual spends their time is a reflection of their priorities, Elder Teixeira said. “Remember, where your heart is, there is your treasure also.”
Setting Christ and His teachings as a central priority of one’s life is key to finding joy and fulfillment, he explained.
“When we love God and put Him first in our lives, everything else falls into place,” he said. “When we extend that love to those around us, we find joy and fulfillment.”