Thursday, December 17, 2009

Setting your sights and moving forward

A few conferences ago President Uchtdorf related an important personal lesson he had learned from his days as an airline pilot for Lufthansa. He said that the flight crew has to make absolutely sure that they are exact when they navigate and do not deviate in the slightest from their charted course. Doing so will lead the plane off course and take them to the wrong place. My father was in situation a where this lesson came to life.

Years ago my father served in the U.S. Navy as a navigator aboard a large surface ship. Early one morning my father, along with the other junior officers, reported to the bridge to discover that during the night one of the two large compasses used to navigate the ship had failed meaning they were off course. This was back before GPS systems and computers were used to plot courses and track progress aboard naval vessels, so loosing one of your compasses was a big deal. My dad got out a sextant and used it to find their position based on the stars still shining in the early morning sky to determine which compass had malfunctioned and where the ship was heading.

Sure enough the ship had gotten off course and instead sailing towards Hawaii the ship was headed for South America. Fortunately they had not gone too far off course and quickly put the ship back on course. The compass was fixed and they made it to their final destination with little delay.

This story has meant a lot to me over the years. It is a reminder that slight deviations from our charted course left uncorrected can hinder us and possibly prevent us from altogether reaching our desired final destination. It is necessary that when we set sail in any endeavor, we make absolutely sure we have the proper coordinates, chart a direct course, and then stay on that course for the duration. The question is, how to set properly find out position and our course? I believe that the scriptures answer this question.

2nd Nephi 26:30 reads:

But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.
Zion, the place where god dwells among his people and there are no poor among them, is the goal. If when we sit down to set our goals, looking to building up Zion, I believe we will find greater peace and fulfillment as opposed to simply setting goals to increase our income or take on a program of personal improvement simply for the sake of personal improvement.

Even before we attempt to labor Zion, we should look to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus said:
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:29).
Looking to the Savior and laboring for his work and glory will bring not only yield satisfaction but will bring peace to our hearts and to our relationships with others.

Before we undertake the process of setting goals we would all do well to remember from the Lord's prayer,"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven", and the famous phrase,"not my will but Thine be done."

I know that as we keep the Savior central and labor in the cause of bringing forth Zion, we will find what our souls need and will find a peace that we otherwise we would not find.


  1. Great post, Brother Rusch. What a story! Glad your dad knew his stars!

  2. Geoffrey and I both enjoyed this post. I especially enjoyed the "Take my yoke upon you..." quote. This time of the year my own yoke gets a little heavier, as does everyone's...