Seventy Urges BYU–Idaho Students to Actively “Make a Difference”
Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
- To make a difference in your life, study the scriptures, pray, obey the principles of the gospel, and attend the temple.
“It is the time to not only be passive spectators with knowledge, but to be active participants with the knowledge of the truth.” —Elder Eduardo Gavarret of the Seventy
“It is time to not only be passive spectators with knowledge, but to be active participants with the knowledge of the truth,” Elder Eduardo Gavarret, General Authority Seventy, told students at Brigham Young University–Idaho during a campus devotional held in the BYU–Idaho Center on May 16.
Drawing from the words of Joshua in the Old Testament, Elder Gavarret spoke of the counsel to “choose you this day whom ye will serve; … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
“How did Joshua reach that level of commitment?” he asked. “Obviously, they were not words spoken lightly. His life had been in the service of God, and his statement was a declaration of his conduct for many years. How can we reach that level of commitment to also say, ‘Today, I and my house will serve the Lord?’”
One of the intrinsic components of that statement is knowledge, the leader taught.
“Knowledge is the act or effect of knowing,” he said. “It is the capacity of man to understand, through reason, the nature, qualities, and relationships of things.”
With the ability to obtain knowledge available to more people than ever before in history, students still need to cultivate a desire for more knowledge, he said.
“The university will guide you to obtain it and teach you how to apply it; in turn, you must form discipline to increase your knowledge through a diligent personal search,” he said.
Drawing from the examples of ancient and modern prophets and others who increased their level of information and understanding—Abraham in the Old Testament; Joseph Smith; scientists Marie Curie and Albert Einstein; inventor Philo T. Farnsworth; and impressive surgeon and President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Russell M. Nelson—Elder Gavarret encouraged listeners to go from a follower to a “more faithful follower because of … desire, search, learning, and action.”
“Even though these people made a difference, their search for knowledge was not limited to just getting information,” he said. “It was followed by action.”
The pursuit of knowledge is critical to serving the Lord.
“But what knowledge is most important?” the leader asked. “It is not … secular knowledge, which is undoubtedly of great importance and is described within our responsibilities as children of God.“
It is the knowledge of the laws of the gospel and its application that motivates a person to act differently and make a difference in the lives of those around him or her.
“It is the time to not only be passive spectators with knowledge, but to be active participants with the knowledge of the truth,” he said.
The heroes and heroines of the present are here, he said.
“And they are you. I am sure that the fiber, the drive needed to make a difference and generate what is called the power of one, the power to act, the power to speak up based on the knowledge of the gospel and thus generate a change is here; it is within you.”
Devotional audience in the BYU–Idaho Center on May 16. Photo by Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho.
With that responsibility, individuals must know who they are, obtain a testimony of the plan of salvation, focus their attention and efforts on the path of that plan, and then, with that knowledge, they must discard any “extra baggage” that is holding them back from advancement.
Elder Gavarret encouraged listeners to not choose a path of mediocrity but to be determined to be different, exercising the power that is in a person to make a difference.
“Through the acquisition of knowledge of the commandments we will know what is right and what is not, and thus we will be inwardly prepared to actively participate in favor of the freedom from deception, from false doctrines, from the adversary’s influence, and thus be an active contributor in the process of happiness,” he said.
Elder Gavarret encouraged listeners to “not be carried away by social movements whose message or activity is contrary to the Father’s plan.”
“Remember that there is no double standard for the Father,” he said. “Treat all with kindness, but be direct and clear and preach by example and by word about the values that Christ taught us. Do not plead for causes contrary to the plan; rather, raise your voice against sin, whatever it may be. … Mark the difference, raise your voice, decide to act as a true disciple of the truth.”
The Church leader invited listeners to make a difference in their lives by studying the scriptures, praying, obeying the principles of the gospel, and attending the temple.
“Be one of those who sets the road, and make a difference,” he said. “Remember, you are a winner. You really can make a big difference. Choose a noble cause for the Lord by which to fight and apply your energy. There are people to help, hands to lift, weakened knees to strengthen, prisoners to visit and rescue, hungry to feed, naked to clothe, and sick to heal. The invitation is to raise your voice. Be true to yourselves and loyal to your mission.”