College students are at a critical stage in their lives, and while they will undoubtedly will change in coming years, they shouldn't just let such changes happen, said Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy.
“I strongly urge you to determine now in which direction you will head,” Elder Vinson said.
Speaking to LDS Business College students and faculty in a Tuesday, March 5, devotional held in the Conference Center Theater, he urged all to live the two great commandments — ”to love God (first and foremost), and to love others as He does.”
Examining the temptations Satan used against the Savior in Matthew 4:2-9, Elder Vinson explained how an individual's determination to follow the first commandment might be threatened.
The first temptation was for the Savior to turn stones into bread after having fasted for 40 days. The Savior had the power to do so, but He would have needed to use His priesthood power.
“Now, I hold the priesthood, as do many of you, and as such, I have the power to bless anyone in the world with that priesthood, member or non-member,” Elder Vinson said. “I can lay my hands on their head and give them a blessing. But there is one person in the world that I cannot do that to: me. I can never use the priesthood to bless myself. Its purpose is to bless others and not to be turned for one’s own benefit.”
Elder Vinson taught the students that there come times when they will be tempted to compromise their own integrity the way the Savior was. “Decide now that you will never succumb to such a temptation, that you will protect your integrity with all your might and strength, at whatever cost.”
The second temptation was for the Savior to cast Himself from the pinnacle of the temple to show the people His power and receive their praise. This was a temptation of pride. “But the Savior had no pride,” Elder Vinson said. “He was the epitome of humility.”
The temptation to be proud will be ever present. “Always remember who it is Who is the source of every blessing we receive in this life," he said, "and of how fragile and slippery is our hold on those things that might tempt us to be prideful, but which are really just on loan from God.”
The third temptation was for the Savior to feel entitled to all the good things of the world. As the Creator of the world, He was entitled. However, “He realized that any reward He would receive must be based on His finishing His work on earth,” Elder Vinson explained. “There would be no shortcuts.
“How often do we look for shortcuts to our goals, instead of knuckling down and doing what’s required to earn them for ourselves?”
Integrity, humility and hard work need to be developed and honed by each person over a lifetime, Elder Vinson said. “They are essential if we are to become like [the Savior].”
The second of the two great commandments is to love others, which is done through lifting and helping others. This is ministering. “It is what the Savior did all His earthly life, and it is what Heavenly Father does by loving us and answering our prayers,” Elder Vinson said.
As an example, he shared an experience his wife, Sister Kay Vinson, had many years ago. While cleaning their home, she noticed that a button on a couch cushion had fallen off. She picked it up with intention of sewing it on later. As she continued her cleaning, she realized that she had lost the button.
Just then, their eldest daughter, Jess, came to visit. When Sister Vinson told her about the missing button, her daughter asked if she had prayed for help to find it. Sister Vinson said she didn’t want to pray about something so trivial.
Sister Vinson continued searching and had a feeling to go into the laundry room and look in the rubbish basket. “To her surprise, she found the button under some rubbish in the basket,” Elder Vinson said. When Sister Vinson returned to her daughter, Jess had a knowing smile on her face as she had prayed that her mother would find the button.
That night, when Sister Vinson knelt to pray, she thanked Heavenly Father for the answer to Jess’s prayer, but added, “But it was only a button. It wasn’t important.”
“She was moved to tears when she felt these words in reply: ‘No, the button wasn’t important, but you are,’” Elder Vinson said.
The couch cushion was never repaired. Instead, Sister Vinson sewed that button to a piece of material with the words, “The button wasn’t important, but you are.” It now hangs behind a glass covering in a frame and has been everywhere the Vinson family has lived.
“I’ve sometimes wondered why we even need the second commandment because if we live the first, we will develop the same qualities and attitudes the Savior showed,” Elder Vinson said. “We will feel the same love for others that He did and does. I wonder, then, whether one reason for the Savior to have stressed this second commandment may have been because it serves as something of a barometer of how well we are really living the first commandment.”
Elder Vinson shared his hope that those in attendance at the devotional would have the faith to follow God’s two great commandments for the rest of their lives.
“May you, both now and always, feel the importance of loving God and acting on that love, including nurturing your integrity, maintaining your humility, and being prepared to dig in and do the hard work. And may you strive to look for every opportunity to love, lift and help others. In these ways, you will face, and move, in the right direction to have a joyful, fulfilling life and you will change for the better by growing in your discipleship.”