Saturday, 25 February 2017

What is the Purpose of Life?

Consider this story about an Olympian, from Bishop Gary E. Stevenson's talk in April 2014:

I speak of these games this morning directing my thoughts to young men, young women, and young single adults—you who are in your critical years which set the course for your life. I feel a great sense of urgency in addressing you.
For you to feel that urgency, I first share the story of Noelle Pikus-Pace, one of those Latter-day Saint athletes. In Noelle’s event, the skeleton, athletes build momentum as they sprint and then plunge headfirst on a small sled. With their faces inches above the ground, they race down a winding, icy track at speeds that top 90 miles (145 km) an hour.
Remarkably, years of preparation would be considered either a success or a disappointment based on what happened in the space of four intense 60-second runs.
Noelle’s previous 2006 Olympic dreams were dashed when a terrible accident left her with a broken leg. In the 2010 Olympics her dreams fell short again when just over one-tenth of a second kept her from the medal stand.2
Can you imagine the anxiety she felt as she waited to begin her first run in the 2014 Olympics? Years of preparation would culminate in only a sliver of time. Four minutes total. She spent years preparing for those four minutes and would spend a lifetime afterward reflecting on them.
Noelle’s final runs were virtually flawless! We will never forget her leap into the stands to embrace her family after crossing the finish line, exclaiming, “We did it!” Years of preparation had paid off. We saw her Young Women medallion around her neck as the silver medal was placed there beside it.3
It may seem unfair that Noelle’s entire Olympic dreams hinged on what she did during just four brief minutes. But she knew it, and that is why she prepared so diligently. She sensed the magnitude, the urgency of her four minutes, and what they would mean for the rest of her life.
Now, consider how your pathway to eternal life is similar to these athletes’ “four-minute performance.” You are an eternal being. Before you were born, you existed as a spirit. In the presence of a loving Heavenly Father, you trained and prepared to come to earth for a brief moment and, well, perform. This life is your four minutes. While you are here, your actions will determine whether you win the prize of eternal life. The prophet Amulek described, “This life is the time … to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day … to perform [your] labors.”5

What is our purpose in life?
2 Nephi 2:24: TO HAVE JOY!

How do we have joy in this life?
What makes you the happiest?
Think about our lesson last week--how do our bodies enable us to have joy?

How do our trials bring us joy?
President Uchtdorf:
For a moment, think back about your favorite fairy tale. In that story the main character may be a princess or a peasant; she might be a mermaid or a milkmaid, a ruler or a servant. You will find one thing all have in common: they must overcome adversity.
Cinderella has to endure her wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters. She is compelled to suffer long hours of servitude and ridicule.
In “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle becomes a captive to a frightful-looking beast in order to save her father. She sacrifices her home and family, all she holds dear, to spend several months in the beast’s castle.
In the tale “Rumpelstiltskin,” a poor miller promises the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king immediately sends for her and locks her in a room with a mound of straw and a spinning wheel. Later in the story she faces the danger of losing her firstborn child unless she can guess the name of the magical creature who helped her in this impossible task.
In each of these stories, Cinderella, Belle, and the miller’s daughter have to experience sadness and trial before they can reach their “happily ever after.” Think about it. Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow?
Sandwiched between their “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” they all had to experience great adversity. Why must all experience sadness and tragedy? Why could we not simply live in bliss and peace, each day filled with wonder, joy, and love?

2 Nephi 2:25 (We were created to have joy)
Alma 12:2434:3242:4Abraham 3:25–26 (This life is a time to be tested and prepare to meet God)
3 Nephi 12:3–12 (The Savior names several godlike attributes)
3 Nephi 12:48 (Heavenly Father wants us to become perfect as He is)
D&C 138:53–56 (We are here to help build God’s kingdom)
The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129
Thomas S. Monson, “The Race of Life,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 90–93
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Your Happily Ever After,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 124–27
Gary E. Stevenson, “Your Four Minutes,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 84–86
Plan of Salvation,” True to the Faith (2004), 115–16

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