First, they are both focused on “temporal matters,” Bishop Waddell said during a devotional broadcast to students of the Church’s online university on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
The Doctrine and Covenants teaches, in speaking of the office of the Presiding Bishop, that “the office of a bishop is in administering all temporal things” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:68), Bishop Waddell said. “As for you, as students of BYU-Pathway, getting an education shows your focus on improving the temporal aspects of life, which will be a tremendous blessing throughout your life.”
Second, they both need the influence of the Spirit to accomplish their goals and pursuits, Bishop Waddell said.
“Therefore, a key to our success,” he continued, “in addition to all that we can do with an appropriate effort, depends on our ability to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit. Always remember that we can accomplish so much more with the Spirit than we can on our own.”
Ammon is a “wonderful example” of someone in the scriptures who used the influence of the Spirit to accomplish a temporal assignment, Bishop Waddell said.
Ammon is assigned by the king of the Lamanites to help guard the king’s flocks. As the sheep are scattered, Ammon declares that he will show forth “the power which is in me” to his fellow servants and proceeds to protect and defend the king’s flocks. Later, when asked by what power he was able to do what he did, Ammon describes the Holy Ghost, saying “that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God” (Alma 17:26-39).
Of that encounter, Bishop Waddell said, “Sisters and brothers, it wasn’t Ammon’s personal power alone that allowed him to accomplish his very temporal task, but rather the ‘power’ that was in him. In other words, because of the influence of the Spirit in his life, Ammon was able to face his difficult task ‘in the strength of the Lord,’ (Mosiah 10:10) making it possible for him to successfully handle a very challenging situation.”
Knowing what Ammon was able to accomplish through the influence of the Spirit should give individuals hope that, with the the help of the Spirit, they too can “overcome the challenges of life, continue on the covenant path, and accomplish our worthy goals,” Bishop Waddell said.
To those who feel overwhelmed with just meeting temporal needs, Bishop Waddell shared the counsel of President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency who taught that “small and simple” practices “over time … result in powerful spiritual uplift and growth. This occurs because each of these small and simple things invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost” (“Small and Simple Things,” April 2018 general conference).
To President Oaks’ list of “small and simple practices” including scripture study, personal prayers and attendance at seminary or institute, Bishop Waddell added partaking of the sacrament, paying an honest tithe and keeping baptismal and temple covenants.
“As busy as you may be with life, never allow yourself to be so busy that you stop doing the things that will allow you to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit and to go forward ‘in the strength of the Lord,’” he said.
Students of BYU-Pathway are “real-life examples of diligence, hope, effort, and faith,” Bishop Waddell said, “and I congratulate you for your strength and determination. My prayer and desire for each of you is that you would embrace the small and simple practices that will invite the Spirit into your daily lives, allowing you to go forward ‘in the strength of the Lord’ and accomplish every worthy goal.”