Thomas S. Monson is the prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of this church are often known as Mormons. President Monson has always been a very focused man, whose church service began at an unusually young age. Today, as the leader of the Mormons, he encourages members of the Church to be focused on doing the Lord’s work and on living a meaningful life. Following are some of his thoughts on the subject of goals:
Three Goals to Guide You
In November 2007, President Monson spoke to the women of the Church. He offered them three goals they could set to guide their lives: Study diligently. Pray earnestly. Serve willingly. Of the first, to study diligently, he said:
Beyond our study of spiritual matters, secular learning is also essential. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. Statistics reveal that at some time, because of the illness or death of a husband or because of economic necessity, you may find yourself in the role of financial provider. Some of you already occupy that role. I urge you to pursue your education—if you are not already doing so or have not done so—that you might be prepared to provide if circumstances necessitate such.
Your talents will expand as you study and learn. You will be able to better assist your families in their learning, and you will have peace of mind in knowing that you have prepared yourself for the eventualities that you may encounter in life.
Of the second, to pray earnestly, he encouraged this challenge:
“My dear sisters, do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle.”
Of the third, to serve willingly, he counseled: You are, of course, surrounded by opportunities for service. No doubt at times you recognize so many such opportunities that you may feel somewhat overwhelmed. Where do you begin? How can you do it all? How do you choose, from all the needs you observe, where and how to serve?
Often small acts of service are all that is required to lift and bless another: a question concerning a person’s family, quick words of encouragement, a sincere compliment, a small note of thanks, a brief telephone call. If we are observant and aware, and if we act on the promptings which come to us, we can accomplish much good. Sometimes, of course, more is needed.
I learned recently of loving service given to a mother when her children were very young. Frequently she would be up in the middle of the night tending to the needs of her little ones, as mothers do. Often her friend and neighbor across the street would come over the next day and say, “I saw your lights on in the middle of the night and know you were up with the children. I’m going to take them to my house for a couple of hours while you take a nap.” Said this grateful mother: “I was so thankful for her welcome offer, it wasn’t until this had happened many times that I realized if she had seen my lights on in the middle of the night, she was up with one of her children as well and needed a nap just as much as I did. She taught me a great lesson, and I’ve since tried to be as observant as she was in looking for opportunities to serve others.”
Thomas S. Monson, “Three Goals to Guide You,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 118–21
We Are of a Noble Birthright
We are of a noble birthright. Eternal life in the kingdom of our Father is our goal.
Such a goal is not achieved in one glorious attempt, but rather is the result of a lifetime of righteousness, an accumulation of wise choices, even a constancy of purpose. Like the coveted A grade on the report card of a difficult and required course, the reward of eternal life requires effort. The A grade is the result of each theme, each quiz, each class, each examination, each library project, each term paper. So each Sunday School lesson, each Young Men or Young Women teacher, each prayer, each date, each friend—all precede the goal of temple marriage, that giant step toward an A grade on the report card of life.
Some time ago I returned from a month-long, 30,000-mile journey to the stakes and missions of the South Pacific. As the great jet plane hurtled through the heavens, I gazed out the window and marveled at the stars by which the navigator charted our course. My thoughts were upon our glorious youth; I said to myself: “Ideals are like the stars—you can’t touch them with your hands, but by following them you reach your destination.”
What ideals when followed will bring to us those blessings we so much seek, even a quiet conscience, a peace-filled heart, a loving husband or wife, a healthy family, a contented home?
May I suggest these three:
• Choose your friends with caution.
• Plan your future with purpose.
• Frame your life with faith.
Thomas S. Monson, “Crisis at the Crossroads,” New Era, Nov 2002, 5
Life is the Accumulation of Choices
You are of a noble birthright. Exaltation in the celestial kingdom is your goal.
Such a goal is not achieved in one glorious attempt but rather is the result of a lifetime of righteousness, an accumulation of wise choices, even a constancy of purpose. Like the coveted A grade on the report card, the reward of eternal life requires effort. The A grade is the result of each theme, each quiz, each class, each examination, each library project, each term paper. So each lesson in church, each prayer, each date, each friend, each dance all precede the goal of temple marriage—that giant step toward an A grade on the report card of life.
Our goal is to achieve, to excel, to strive for perfection. Remember, however, that our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves. To break our own record, to outstrip our yesterdays by today, to bear our trials more beautifully than we ever dreamed we could, to give as we never have given, to do our work with more force and a finer finish than ever—this is the true objective. And to accomplish this task, our attitude is reflected in a determination to make the most of our opportunities. We turn from the tempting allurement and eventual snare so cunningly and carefully offered us by “old man procrastination.” Two centuries ago, Edward Young said that “procrastination is the thief of time.” Actually, procrastination is much more. It is the thief of our self-respect. It nags at us and spoils our fun. It deprives us of the fullest realization of our ambitions and hopes. Knowing this, we jar ourselves back to reality with the sure knowledge that “this is my day of opportunity. I will not waste it.”
Thomas S. Monson, “The Lighthouse of the Lord: A Message to the Youth of the Church,” Liahona, May 2001, 3