Focus on the Savior

Focus on the Savior

Today we live in times where distractions surround us.  In fact, we spend a good deal of time seeking distraction from our everyday lives.  We plan outings, go to movies, watch television, meet with friends, play games, and listen to music all to distract us from the hum-drum of everyday life.  Such distractions are often necessary and good to provide us with the rest needed to continue in the tasks that consume our lives.  Unfortunately, however, the world that surrounds us can divert our attention away from those things that really matter.  

While I was training to be a pilot, I was subject to countless examinations and flight tests.  During the flight tests the examiner would often create an emergency, and then, while I struggled to deal with the problem by going through appropriate checklists and following established procedures, he would start to talk about his family or ask questions about mine.  He would sometimes point out beautiful or interesting things on the ground or drop his notebook creating additional confusion in the cockpit.  He did it in a way that suggested the emergency was no big deal and that real pilots were able to remain so calm that they could carry on casual conversations while executing emergency procedures.   All of this was a ploy to distract my attention away from the critical and most important task at hand.  Often the resolution to the problem was a switch that was placed in the wrong position or something else very simple.  However if the examiner could cause me to miss the item on the checklist or falter in the procedure at the moment where that switch was checked, then I failed.   The adversary uses similar tactics to divert our focus away from the Savior and his gospel.

Elder Thomas F. Evans related a wonderful parable that illustrates this principle.   A merchant found a pearl of rare beauty.  Its luster and color were beyond comparison.  He contemplated the beautiful and rare jewel deciding that he must make a special box to hold such a perfect gem.   He hired skilled craftsman to construct an ornate and beautiful box to house the perfect pearl.  The carving and metal work on the box were of wonderful workmanship and exquisite in every way.   The merchant was satisfied.  He was anxious to show his pearl to his friends so that they could enjoy its remarkable and unusual perfection.    He placed the box in his home and invited others to come see.   To his great disappointment those that came ignored the precious pearl resting in the box and only admired the box.  Those that had been invited to experience the beauty of the pearl became distracted by the box.   It is often easy for us to become distracted and miss the pearl that Our Heavenly Father is trying to show us.   In many instances in the scriptures it is quite easy to identify the distraction causing people to miss the point.   The women at the well became distracted with the traditions that forbade a Jew from speaking to a Samaritan.   Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him.  How is it that though being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?  For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.  (John 4:9) 

The multitude became distracted with the fish and loaves and missed the miracle.

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and the fishes.  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man, shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.   (John 26-27)

In our 2016 Africa West Area plan, we as an Area Presidency state the vision: “With Faith, we will look to the Savior.  We will love, trust, and know Him.  This will lead us to seek, for ourselves, and our families, all the blessings of the temple and eternal life. “    The important principle is that we will focus on the Savior.   We will look past the distractions in our lives and look to the Savior.  Brothers and Sisters, the Savior has made himself and his atonement available to us.  He will help us through this life.    May we see the distractions of this life for what they are and focus on the Savior to receive the many blessings he extends to us.   May we follow a path that leads us to truly know Him. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.