After we have done all we can, having studied it out and determined
how best to solve our problems, then we take our decisions to the
Lord; and if they are right, our bosoms will burn within us and we
will have spiritual confirmation as to what to do.
Robert Browning said, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” Growth
comes as we constantly seek to achieve that which is just beyond our
immediate capacity. One of the noteworthy aspects of the Church
program is that it constantly motivates men to stretch themselves, to
reach a little higher.
Someone has said that success consists not in never falling, but in
rising every time you fall. Get up one more time than you go down,
young people, and you will win. Stay down, and you lose.
Cicero said, “Control thyself.” I had the opportunity in World War II
to bat against the immortal Bob Feller in a servicemen’s game. If you
ever want a lesson in humility, bat against Feller. Bob Feller had a
unique distinction as a sixteen-year-old boy. He could take a 9
1/2-inch, 5-ounce baseball and throw it from 60 feet 6 inches, 105
miles an hour.
Now that may not impress you, but you go to bat and you’re very
impressed. To those of you who may not understand that velocity, a
9-inch baseball is the size of an aspirin tablet at 60 feet 6 inches,
at 100 miles per hour. I submit to you, it makes a difference which
side of the plate he throws it.
Bob Feller at age sixteen had a problem. He lacked control. He
was a great athlete. He had tremendous capacity. He was born to
succeed. He knew himself, but he hadn’t disciplined his great talent
of speed, so that it was questionable as to whether he would stick in
But Bob Feller became the great athlete he was because he
listened to wise counsel. He had great coaches, and one of them took
him aside one day and said, “Bob, it really doesn’t matter whether you
throw 105 miles an hour or 95. If you will take a little speed off
your pitch and put the ball where it belongs, you will succeed!
We call that control in baseball, and you little leaguers know
how important control is to a pitcher. Bob listened and became the
strike-out artist of his era.
You don’t know Jim Rusick, I think, unless you are related to
him. I played ball with Jim. Jim Rusick was a sixteen-year-old boy on
the Hollywood High School baseball team. He could throw a 9 1/2-inch
baseball 105 miles an hour, but he wouldn’t listen to counsel. He
didn’t learn to control the talent that he had, and Jim has never been
heard of since.
It’s one thing to be born with ability to succeed; it’s another
thing to harness it and to control it.
My young brethren, this is the purpose of the gospel of Jesus
Christ, to control that which we have been born with. That is the
purpose of the Church and its programs. We need to learn how to
control that which God has given us.
Finally, the Savior said, Take all that I have given you,
harness it, discipline it, and then give it to the world. Give
Jeffrey Holland, president of Brigham Young University, while working
on his Ph.D. at a prominent eastern American university, got to know
well one of the reference librarians who had helped him with some
One day he said, “Ilene, I need to know how many books we have
in the University Library which claim to have been delivered by an
As you can imagine, the librarian gave him a peculiar look and
said, “I don’t know of any books that have been delivered by angels.
Swords maybe, or chariots, but I don’t know of any books.”
“Well, just run a check for me would you? It may take a little
doing, but I really would like to know.”
The librarian dutifully did some checking of the nine million
books in the library. For several days she had nothing to report, but
then one day she smilingly said, “Mr. Holland, I have a book for you.
I found one book which, it is claimed, was delivered by an angel,” and
she held up a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon. “I’m told you can
get them for a dollar. My goodness,” she continued, “an angel’s book
for a dollar! You would think angels would charge more, but then
again,” she said, “where would they spend it?” (See Pat Holland,
President’s Welcome Assembly, Brigham Young University, 9 Sept. 1986).
Think of it--one book has been delivered by an angel, and it
teaches of your eternal salvation. And each of you owns a true copy!
A stake president recently told me that a respected member who had
held Church leadership positions was enticed by some business friends
to try the cocaine drug “crack.” The men were depressed. Their company
was failing, and they succumbed to the evil enticement of illegal
He wasted $18,000 buying “crack,” lost his job, underwent a
personality change, and finally was hospitalized. Through it all, his
wife stayed by him. She found a job, and they began the struggle of
putting his life back together. His Church friends helped him get
His mind is seriously affected. He is still somewhat dependent
on some drugs. The hope and prayer of his family is that he will be
able to hold on to the lifeline.
It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that
determines how your life’s story will develop.
But I am so grateful for her. For 66 years we have walked together,
hand in hand, with love and encouragement, with appreciation and
respect. It cannot be very long before one of us will step through the
veil. I hope the other will follow soon. I just would not know how to
get along without her, even on the other side, and I would hope that
she would not know how to get along without me.
A wise man explained, “When the satisfaction or the security of
another person becomes as significant to one as one’s own satisfaction
and security then the state of love exists.”
A bell is no bell till you ring it,
A song is no song till you sing it,
And love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay,
Love isn’t love till you give it away.
Loving service anonymously given may be unknown to man--but the gift
and the giver are known to God. Of this truth I testify, in the name
of Jesus Christ, amen.