The what and how of the gospel are necessary, but it is understanding the why that inspires and transforms us.
“While understanding the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the ‘why,’” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency said.
“When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational part of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and, instead, becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet.”
A Vital Aspect of the Gospel
President Uchtdorf taught this principle at the general Relief Society meeting in September 2011 and during the priesthood session of the April 2012 general conference. He noted that it is easy to get caught up in the routine of our lives and warned that when that happens, we can unintentionally overlook a vital aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“In our diligent efforts to fulfill all of the duties and obligations we take on as members of the Church, we sometimes see the gospel as a long list of tasks that we must add to our already impossibly long to-do list, as a block of time that we must somehow fit into our busy schedules. We focus on what the Lord wants us to do and how we might do it, but we sometimes forget why,” President Uchtdorf said.
Seek the Joy of the “Why”
He encouraged everyone to find joy in the “why” of the gospel. “Seek out the majesty, the beauty, and the exhilarating joy of the ‘why’ of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “The ‘what’ and ‘how’ of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path. The ‘why’ of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration.”
“We need to be constantly reminded of the eternal reasons behind the things we are commanded to do. The basic gospel principles need to be part of our life’s fabric, even if it means learning them over and over again. That doesn’t mean that this process should be rote or boring,” President Uchtdorf said. “Rather, when we teach the foundational principles in our homes or in church, let the flame of enthusiasm for the gospel and the fire of testimony bring light, warmth, and joy to the hearts of those we teach.”
See the Divine Purpose
President Uchtdorf recognized that despite our best intentions, things do not always go according to plan. “When the Lord advises us to ‘continue in patience until [we] are perfected,’ He is acknowledging that it takes time and perseverance,” President Uchtdorf said. “Understanding the why of the gospel and the why of the priesthood will help us to see the divine purpose of all of this. It will give us motivation and strength to do the right things, even when they are hard. Staying focused on the basic principles of gospel living will bless us with clarity, wisdom, and direction.”
President Uchtdorf noted that everyone has a list of what they could and should do in their Church responsibilities. “The what is important in our work, and we need to attend to it. But it is in the why of priesthood service that we discover the fire, passion, and power of the priesthood,” President Uchtdorf said. “The what of priesthood service teaches us what to do. The why inspires our souls. The what informs, but the why transforms.”
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