Spiritual Life

Follow Christ amid challenges of busy world

In the beginning of Christ's ministry, he reached out to Peter and Andrew and then James and John with an invitation to "... Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." In response, "they straightway left their nets, and followed Him." (Matthew 4:19-20, KJV).

They had become true followers of Christ, disciples of Christ. The word disciple comes from a Latin word meaning "learner." A disciple of Christ is one who is learning to be like Christ -- learning to think, to feel, and to act like him.

Just as Christ stood on the shores of Galilee, he stands today with the same call for us to "Come, follow me."

He may not ask us to leave our employment or to take no heed for our sustenance. Instead, we are invited to follow him by balancing our time in a world with many choices.

We live in a world where the many good things available often become a distraction and pull us from the things that are most important. Our time can be easily consumed with work, recreation, hobbies, television, video games and various forms of social media, leaving little time for much else.

As my husband and I raised our children, we were anxiously engaged in providing opportunities for them to learn. With school, sports, music and dance classes along with church activities, our prayer was for them to become faithful, well-rounded adults. The time spent at these activities began to encroach on family scripture study and teaching of gospel principles.

In general, we had less time for wholesome family activities. While it was concerning, it seemed a necessary sacrifice in order to be involved in these "good" activities. We struggled for answers of how to do it all.

An insightful article by LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks titled "Good, Better, Best" (Ensign Magazine, Nov. 2007) validated our efforts: "Just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. ... We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families."

We knew our greatest responsibility was not to just raise athletes or musicians or dancers. While those were all very "good," we had given great priority to spiritual growth and did forgo the "good" for the "best."

We gave up sleep for early morning scripture study so all could participate. We chose not to overlap sports so each child had down time. We limited summer camp attendance. Church activities took precedence over other options as we served, played and worked together.

Writers have analogized our lives to fishermen's nets that need tending and mending, otherwise they can become entangled in worldliness. The simple efforts our family made to the "tending and mending" helped us more closely follow the Savior.

May we be equal to the challenge of a busy world, and "... seek ye first the kingdom of God ..." (Matthew 6:33, KJV) and answer Christ's call to "Come, follow me."

-- Patty Kessie is Kennewick Stake Relief Society president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email lluginbill@tricityherald.com.