A third obstacle that prevents us from fully engaging in this work is the many competing priorities we face. Some of us are so busy that we feel like a cart pulled by a dozen work animals—each straining in a different direction. A lot of energy is expended, but the cart doesn’t go anywhere. Often we devote our best efforts in pursuit of a hobby, a sport, vocational interests, and community or political issues. All these things may be good and honorable, but are they leaving us time and energy for what should be our highest priorities? What is the remedy? Once again, it comes from the words of the Savior: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. “This is the first and great commandment. “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Everything else in life should be secondary to these two great priorities. Even in Church service, it is easy to spend a lot of time just going through the motions without the heart or the substance of discipleship. Brethren, we as priesthood bearers have committed to be a people who love God and our neighbor and who are willing to demonstrate that love through word and deed. That is the essence of who we are as disciples of Jesus Christ. Those who live up to these principles will not sleep through the Restoration.
Some of our most important choices concern family activities. Many breadwinners worry that their occupations leave too little time for their families. There is no easy formula for that contest of priorities. However, I have never known of a man who looked back on his working life and said, “I just didn’t spend enough time with my job.” In choosing how we spend time as a family, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best. A friend took his young family on a series of summer vacation trips, including visits to memorable historic sites. At the end of the summer he asked his teenage son which of these good summer activities he enjoyed most. The father learned from the reply, and so did those he told of it. “The thing I liked best this summer,” the boy replied, “was the night you and I laid on the lawn and looked at the stars and talked.” Super family activities may be good for children, but they are not always better than one-on-one time with a loving parent. The amount of children-and-parent time absorbed in the good activities of private lessons, team sports, and other school and club activities also needs to be carefully regulated. Otherwise, children will be overscheduled, and parents will be frazzled and frustrated. Parents should act to preserve time for family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and the other precious togetherness and individual one-on-one time that binds a family together and fixes children’s values on things of eternal worth. Parents should teach gospel priorities through what they do with their children. . . Church leaders should be aware that Church meetings and activities can become too complex and burdensome if a ward or a stake tries to have the membership do everything that is good and possible in our numerous Church programs. Priorities are needed there also.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave the following counsel not too long ago: “Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence. “Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient?” We all know that our list of earthly treasures consists of pride, wealth, material things, power, and the honors of men. They do not merit any more time and attention, so I will focus instead on the things that will constitute our treasures in heaven. What are some treasures in heaven that we can lay up for ourselves? For starters, it will be well for us to acquire the Christlike attributes of faith, hope, humility, and charity. We have been counseled repeatedly to “[put] off the natural man and … [become] as a child.” The Savior’s admonition is for us to strive to be perfect like Him and our Heavenly Father. Second, we need to put more quality time and effort into strengthening family relationships. After all, “the family is ordained of God. It is the most important unit in time and in eternity.” Third, serving others is a hallmark of a true follower of Christ. He said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Fourth, understanding the doctrine of Christ and strengthening our testimony is a labor that will bring real joy and satisfaction. We need to consistently study the words of Christ as found in the scriptures and the words of living prophets. “For behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”