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The Thinking Man

January 12th, 2010 No comments

The Thinking Man

January 10, 2010, Broadcast #4191

There is an old West African tale about a man who, more than anything else, wanted to be rich. He devoted his every thought to that endeavor and became quite successful in his quest to amass a great fortune. Nevertheless, his success came with a heavy price, for when at last he had reached his goal, he discovered that he was utterly alone. His wife and children had left him. The only friends he had were those who kept a greedy eye on his fortune. This terrible realization weighed so heavily upon him that he could not think of anything else.
To this day throughout this region of Africa, vendors in the marketplace sell wooden statues that represent the rich man who lost so much. In Ghana they call him the “Thinking Man,” because for the remainder of his days all he did was contemplate the riches he had lost as a result of his greed.

Every culture throughout the world has its own, similar stories that caution against the pursuit of wealth at the expense of honor, family, and integrity. Certainly, money is not evil by itself–if used wisely, it can relieve distress, provide hope, bring healing, and offer opportunity and growth. But when we begin to love money so much that the pursuit of it becomes the chief measure of our life, we lose something more precious than anything money can buy.

When we are tempted to get caught up in the search for worldly wealth at the expense of those things of lasting importance, perhaps it would be wise to remember the story of the Thinking Man and consider that sometimes the pursuit of more can actually lead to less.

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Keep Both Feet In Today

January 4th, 2010 No comments

Keep Both Feet in Today

January 2, 2010, Broadcast #4190

It has been wisely noted that having one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow is a rather unstable position. The best way to face the future, it seems, is to keep both feet in today.

We can’t spend too much time looking back, because too much still lies ahead. And we can’t live only in the future, or we’ll miss out on today’s happiness. We need to live fully in the present and savor every moment, knowing that in the coming years we’ll be longing for the days we have right now. Indeed, the “good ole days” are not in the past; they are right now.

Our ancestors each had their hard days and heartache, we have ours, and our descendants will all have theirs. The process of life is to go forward in the present, with the past behind us and the future ahead of us.

“We do not know when we will be required to leave this mortal existence,” said Thomas S. Monson. “And so [we] ask, ‘What are we doing with today?’ . . . Have we been guilty of declaring, ‘I’ve been thinking about making some course corrections in my life. I plan to take the first step–tomorrow’? With such thinking, tomorrow is forever. Such tomorrows rarely come unless we do something about them today.”

With that in mind, now might be a good time to reevaluate our goals and aspirations, rethink our direction and purpose in life, and refocus our efforts and energy on worthwhile endeavors. The present becomes the past in a moment, so before it does, make the most of it. The future, which is really just the unfolding present, is bright for those who take the time, as the proverb counsels, to “ponder the path of [your] feet.”

Categories: Music and the Spoken Word Tags:
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