Students at Brigham Young University are actually preparing for two graduation days — one where they receive a college degree, and the second when they graduate from mortality, said Elder Gary B. Sabin, General Authority Seventy, during the BYU devotional on Nov. 7.
“It would be my hope that each of you would view your entire life as a marvelous university and mission in preparation for your second and most important graduation, that of graduating with honor from life.”
In remarks titled “Fear Not and Return with Honor,” Elder Sabin explained that the revealed formula for a successful life and an honorable graduation from life is to follow the Savior.
“We do this by choosing to be obedient to Him and trusting in His promise that everything will eventually work together for our best good, according to His wisdom and timing.”
Unseen heavenly help
Elder Sabin said people can do their part by building their foundation upon the rock of Christ, exercising faith and trusting God — but they also never need to feel alone.
The hymn, “Let Us All Press On” says: “But an unseen pow’r will aid me and you/In the glorious cause of truth.”
In 2 Chronicles 20:15, the priest declared to the king of Judah before a battle: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
The Lord has declared, “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:88).
Elder Sabin told the students that many heavenly hosts are very interested in their welfare. “You each have a big cheering section pulling for you.”
An eternal perspective
Elder Sabin showed a single dot in the middle of a slide on the screen and told the students to assume the slide goes in every direction throughout all eternity and the dot represents mortality.
He said most people only see the dot while missing the whole picture.
“Having an eternal perspective from revealed truth makes life meaningful in spite of its challenges,” he said, and quoted President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation from October 2023 general conference to “think celestial.”
Elder Sabin invited the students to have the mindset of learning from experiences instead of questioning why they have challenges.
“I would also encourage you to not fall into the trap of postponing your happiness until some future event, because doing so can rob you of the joys of today,” he said.
Understanding the plan
Elder Sabin shared the example of a diamond-hunter who did not realize diamonds were on his own farm. “When we fail to appreciate God’s guidance and the blessings of the restored gospel, we can be blind to the value of what we already have.”
He also told how he and his brother saved a woman in full scuba gear who almost drowned in the ocean. She had been taught the correct principles of how to scuba dive safely, but had not applied what she had learned.
Elder Sabin said people may think they would never be so foolish, but they often live below their spiritual privileges.
”When we fail to avail ourselves of God’s blessings by for example not paying our tithing; not living the word of wisdom or keeping the law of chastity; or properly valuing our baptismal and temple covenants, including the sanctity of the temple garment, we are spiritually drowning,” Elder Sabin said.
Truly understanding the loving plan of Heavenly Father and the Atonement of His Son will lead to a natural desire to be obedient.
“Having faith to follow God’s plan and His direction is a choice that brings light to the soul. We choose to be chosen. We choose to believe, become, belong and return.”
A gospel of hope and fresh starts
Elder Sabin said too many faithful members forget who they are, perhaps because of life’s challenges or the pointing fingers of the world. They forget the simple habits that kept them safe.
“It does not matter what others think; it matters what God thinks.”
Calling the gospel of Jesus Christ a gospel of hope and fresh starts, Elder Sabin reminded the audience that repentance can fill their lives with peace, joy and light.
“You will soon go out into the world with a degree in hand and a fresh start. We are counting on you to bring light to a darkening world,” he said.
Sharing the story of Navy Seal Michael Monsoor — who dived on a grenade to save others — Elder Sabin said the Savior’s sacrifice saved all from physical and spiritual death.
“Jesus Christ has defeated death, disease and sin, and has provided a way for our ultimate perfection. ... If we follow Him, we need not fear.”