All of us get one mortal life. You can do anything you want with it, and you all have incredible potential. But there’s a catch, time used or unused today, cannot be used tomorrow.
Elder Oaks (now President Oaks) once said,
“We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.” (Good, Better, Best – Dallin H. Oaks, October 2007 General Conference)
To the young men and young women who are preparing to serve a mission, there are so many things pulling for your attention: school, sports, musical ambitions, a job or two, home life, worrying about college, concerts, entertainment, the movies, friends, and the list goes on. How can you determine which things are best to do, and not merely good?
I’d like you to think about your life like a jar. A jar that you choose to fill by choosing to do things each and every day. I’m sure some of you have heard this analogy, but I want to put it into perspective of preparing to serve a mission. You can fill the jar with 3 key things:
- Large, life goals (golf balls)
- Serving a mission
- Temple marriage
- Family relationships
- Having a great career to support your other life long goals
- Healthy lifestyle
- Great, fun things (pebbles / rocks)
- A Home
- Material things to help with your large, life goals
- Good friends
- Entertainment to fill in the gaps and kill time (sand)
If we start by filling up the jar with entertainment, movies, concerts, hanging out with friends, along with “netflix and chill,” we won’t be able to fit in the larger things that are our true goals in life.
I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls represent the important things, your large, life goals. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life (jar) would still be full. If you fill in the jar with fun material things or fleeting entertainment first, you won’t have room for the important things.
Pay attention to what you are choosing to put in your jar every day. If you don’t, you’ll soon arrive at the time to serve a mission and there won’t be any room for it in your life. Prepare now by placing it in your life jar first.