Fresh out of college, I had been employed only a short time and was anxious to learn all I could about my vocation, my employer, and his company. One day, while I was meeting with some of the company’s administrators, I was surprised when the senior vice president burst into the room and announced the development of a serious problem. An employee and one of the firm’s best clients had suffered a misunderstanding. As circumstances stood, if the deal was closed the company would lose a lot of money, yet if the deal fell through we could lose the business of this important client.

To make matters worse, the president of the company was on vacation and could not be reached by phone. A decision about what to do would have to be made immediately by those present. As I listened, I could sense the responsibility these businessmen felt as they discussed the consequences of each option. Neither alternative seemed acceptable, and no decision could be reached.

Finally an executive stood up and said, “I know that if the president were here, he would close the deal.” The remark brought complete silence to the room, and then people started nodding in agreement. Yes, the president would close the deal if he were here. Thus the decision was made, and business resumed its normal course. When the boss returned to the office, he was pleased with the decision.

I was inspired by that group of faithful employees. They not only made their boss’s satisfaction a high priority, but they knew him well enough that they could make decisions just as he would have. The president could leave the company in their hands at any time with full confidence, knowing they would not transact any business contrary to his will.

The same principle holds true in the gospel. We can make difficult decisions much more simply when we apply principles and values exemplified by the Master. When confronted with tough or confusing choices, we should always ask ourselves, “What might Jesus have done in similar circumstances?” If we have developed an abiding testimony of the Lord and his teachings, we will know what to do in spiritual matters and in many temporal concerns, just as the businessmen knew what to do in their crisis (see 2 Ne. 32:5).

Employees become acquainted with their boss by serving him or her. We may make mistakes, but with continuous service over time we gain a clear understanding of the boss’s mind and will. It is the same with the Master. King Benjamin taught this principle when he asked, “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13).

The principles of service, discipleship, and prayer will help us know the Master and act in accordance with his will. We can receive his image in our countenances (see Alma 5:14) as we read of his life and teachings in the scriptures, communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer, and strive to live and serve as the Savior demonstrated. Indeed, this process is at the very center of our reason for being: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

[photo] Photo © Tony Stone Images

Jonathan M. Prince is bishop of the Herndon Ward, Oakton Virginia Stake.