03397_000_007What could be more exciting than throwing an NFL touchdown pass?
Young people seem to like thrills. It may be riding a roller coaster, climbing a mountain, surfing, riding a bucking horse, or scuba diving. I like thrills too. I would like to share with you two of the thrills I have enjoyed in my life.
Several years ago I had the opportunity of playing quarterback in the National Football League. Over a seven-year period I played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Atlanta Falcons.
The first of the two thrills took place one day when I was playing with the Steelers against the Philadelphia Eagles. On the first play of the game from scrimmage, I faked to the halfback and dropped back into the pocket. I threw a long pass down the sideline, and my receiver, who was racing down the sideline as fast as he could go, reached out with one hand, caught the ball, pulled it in, and went all the way for a touchdown.
That touchdown pass was a great thrill for me. It was really exciting with 80,000 people cheering. Not many people will have that particular thrill during their lifetime.
The second thrill happened after I retired from professional football. A young man became interested in the gospel through some discussions we had. I invited him to my home. He brought his girl friend with him, and the full-time missionaries taught them the gospel. They were converted. I had the opportunity of baptizing these two young people. A year later they came to Salt Lake City, and I had the privilege of going through the Salt Lake Temple with them when they were sealed for time and eternity.
The experience of seeing those beautiful young people accept the gospel and be united forever was a great thrill. It was a different kind of thrill than the touchdown pass. There were only a few people present in the “sacred silence,” but it was still very exciting.
When I compare the thrill of the touchdown pass with the thrill of those baptisms, there is absolutely no comparison. The baptisms were far more exciting! That may sound phony at first, because now we “see through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12), but I testify that the greatest thrills in this life come from serving the Lord.
It’s perfectly logical when we think about it. Who is going to remember that touchdown pass? Just two people—myself and the fellow who caught the ball. No one else will feel the impact or even remember the play. Just try to remember who played in the Super Bowl two years ago.
In contrast, contemplate all those who will remember the baptisms: this young couple’s children, grandchildren, and many generations to come, not to mention those this couple have brought into the Church.
At the day of judgment, the books will be opened, and those baptisms will be noted. We will be able to see that record, and angels will look upon it. Many will feel the impact of this thrill throughout eternity. “And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me” (D&C 18:16). And while few of us may experience the thrill of a touchdown pass, every young man and woman in the Church can know the greater thrill of sharing the gospel!
There are many exciting thrills in life, but we will enjoy the greatest of them through the gospel by learning and growing, by teaching, by sharing, by serving as a friend and a missionary. If we can learn to love the things that God loves, we will comprehend the true meaning of life, and we will seek after the joy of the gospel with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.