Perspective is the way we see things when we look at them from a certain distance… It is like being in a forest and having a tree in front of you. Unless we step back, we will not be able to appreciate what a forest really is. So what is the eternal perspective of the Gospel?
Our loving heavenly Father has created a plan for us. This plan is called the plan of happiness. We chose to participate in this plan by coming to earth, gaining experience, and learning so that we could return to Him and receive a fullness of joy.
“Understanding this plan of happiness provides us with an eternal perspective and helps us to truly value the commandments, the ordinances, the covenants, and the trials and tribulations. ” – Elder Pino
- Understanding and having an eternal perspective helps us truly value the commandments.
The commandments are the rules. Elder Holland said: we need [you] to stay on [the team] and stop dribbling out of bounds just when we need you to get in the game and play your hearts out! In almost all athletic contests of which I know, there are lines drawn on the floor or field within which every participant must stay in order to compete.”
The rules or commandments are not there to hinder us or keep us reigned in from having fun. The rules are there to make sure we are having fun!
I grew up across the street from a complex of baseball fields. There were 6 in total. Fields 1, 5, and 6 were used for little league games, the other were used for pony league, and high school ball. I played baseball every summer and it seemed like everyone else did. After our games, my friends and I would stick around and play baseball until it was so dark that we couldn’t see the ball anymore. There were never enough of us to play full on baseball, so we would play ‘double-or-nothing’. I loved playing on fields 5 and 6. But we quit well before dark if we had to play on field 1.
Field 1 didn’t have an outfield fence. This created 2 problems. 1) the ball would roll forever. This made for really long innings of the 2 outfielders running all over the place. 2) Because the field didn’t really end there were people in the “outfield” that we had to watch out for… They didn’t understand that six 12-year-old kids were in the middle of a very important game – and it couldn’t wait. It wasn’t fun to try and explain to them that the ball was flying at them because they were in our field. That is when I learned that boundaries were actually a good thing.
Could you imagine playing soccer or football without any out of bounds?
That is only part of it… We have all probably played a game before where someone is bending the rules a bit. I think we all know who I am talking about…
Not only is it not fun to play without boundaries, it is not fun to play with others who don’t follow the rules and it is even worse when you are playing with others who don’t know that rules. Football without rules would be a bloody free for all.
So… having an eternal perspective not only helps us keep the commandments, but also helps us truly value them (especially the hard ones like home teaching or service or Sabbath day observance). The commandments exist to help bring us happiness. If you are struggling with a commandment, it will help to approach the commandment using an eternal perspective.
- Understanding and having an eternal perspective helps us truly value ordinances and covenants.
Ordinances and covenants can be very powerful. How often do we remember the importance of taking the sacrament and what it really means? Many of us have made covenants. Do we always remember them?
I know that for me personally I need to be much better and keep an eternal perspective regarding covenants. It is easy for me to remember the contracts that I have signed regarding work, a car, a house, etc.… and I get caught up in mortal contracts and the consequences of them, but do not always take the time to evaluate and ponder the eternal covenants that I have made. I invite you all to re-study and re-ponder the importance and the power of the sacrament and the other ordinances and covenants that you have made.
- Understanding and having and eternal perspective helps us truly value the trials and tribulations.
Jesus Christ told Joseph Smith: “Peace by unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”
Speaking to His apostles, He said: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
He reassured Moroni: “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble… for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
How can we ‘truly value’ the “gift” of weakness? These scriptures teach us that we are to endure our afflictions well, be of good cheer, be humble, and have faith…
We will struggle, we will fail – that is part of life. But if we have the right perspective, we can come to value the trials and tribulations. The Lord has said that he gives us weakness. It is up to us to decide whether to value and use the gift, or to throw it outside in hopes that some passerby will come by and pick it up.
An example of this can be found in the book of Mormon. Ammon is with the servants of king Lamoni. The bad guys come and scatter the flocks because they are bad guys. Ammon knows that he is on the Lord’s errand. He has an eternal perspective on things. The servants of King Lamoni are on the king’s errand. They have a temporal or mortal perspective. Let’s see and compare how they feel about the same trial…
The servants said: ‘Now the servants of the king began to murmur, saying: Now the king will slay us, as he has our brethren because their flocks were scattered by the wickedness of these men. And they began to weep exceedingly.’
Compared that response to: ‘Now when Ammon saw this his heart was swollen within him with joy; for, said he, I will show forth… the power which is in me… that I may lead them to believe in my words.
Completely opposite feelings, servants were weeping while Ammon felt joy. That is the difference of perspective and faith. Nephi and his older brothers provide another example of this. They went through the same trials and tribulations. They were together. Nephi knew he was on the Lord’s errand and had an eternal perspective. His brothers were following what they thought were the foolish imaginings of their father. Their perspective was mortal.
The trials were not easier for Ammon or Nephi, but having the proper perspective made an enormous difference in every aspect of their lives.
Elder Pino states: “It is extremely important that we do not make decisions of eternal value from the perspective of mortality… The Lord knows what He wants to accomplish with each of us. He knows the kind of reform He wants to achieve in our lives, and we do not have the right to counsel Him. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.”
Again, we all have struggles. Continue in obedience, really push yourself. Try even harder and you will see the blessings. They will come I promise you. As you continue to keep the commandments (especially the hard ones) and pray to see the eternal perspective… YOU WILL SEE IT.