Jun 29, 2014

Your Four Minutes

Your Four Minutes
by Bishop Gary E. Stevenson

I like how Bishop Stevenson used the stories of three medalists that competed in the recent Winter Olympic Games as an analogy to life.
photo from Google image search
Notice her Young Women medallion and Torch!

1.  Noelle Pikus-Pace, who competed in the Skeleton event.  This event consists of four intense 60-second runs, or four minutes total.   Noelle spent years and years training, and two failed attempts at an Olympic medal, her entire Olympic dreams were riding on these four precious minutes.

"It may seem unfair that Noelle's entire Olympic dreams hinged on what she did during just four brief minutes. But she knew it, and that is why she prepared so diligently."
Photo from Google Image Search

2.  Christopher Fogt, who could have given up his Olympic dreams after a devastating crash in the 2010 Olympics, but chose to pick himself up, persevere, and try again.  In this past Olympics, he and his  four-man bobsled team won a bronze medal. 
Photo from Google Image Search

3.  Half-pipe silver medal-winning snowboarder, Torah Bright, who impressed and surprised the world not only with her virtually flawless run, but also for her Christlike love towards her competitors.  When Torah noticed that American snowboarder, Kelly Clark, who had a bad first run, appeared to be nervous about her second, Torah didn't hesitate.  She went right up to Kelly, gave her a hug.  Kelly Clark went on to win a Bronze medal in the competition.

"When asked about this unusual act of kindness toward her opponent, which could have put her own silver medal at risk, Torah simply said, 'I am a competitor--I want to do my best--but I want my fellow competitors to do their best, too."

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Here's the Analogy:
"Consider how your pathway to eternal life is similar to these athletes' "four-minute performance".  You are an eternal being.  Before you were born, you existed as a Spirit.  In the presence of a loving Heavenly Father, you trained and prepared to come to earth for a brief moment and, well, perform.  This life is your four minutes. . . .In a sense, your four minutes have already begun.  The clock is ticking."

"In the same way that certain steps are essential in the very brief performance of an Olympic athlete-jumps or maneuvers for ice skaters and snowboarders, negotiating the turns of a bobsled run, or caring through the gates of a downhill slalom course-so it is in our lives, where certain things are absolutely essential--checkpoints which move us through our spiritual performance on earth.  These spiritual markers are the essential God-given ordinances of the gospel:  baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood ordinations, temple ordinations, and partaking of the sacrament each week."

"In the same way that the discipline of training prepares an athlete to perform elements in his or her sport at the highest level, keeping the commandments will qualify you to receive these saving ordinances."

"Self-discipline is needed.  Daily prayer, scripture study, and church attendance must be the foundation of your training.  A consistent pattern of obeying the commandments, keeping the covenants you have made, and following the Lord's standard found in For the Strength of Youth is required."

"Perhaps you're aware of things in your life that are threatening to slow or stop your spiritual progress. . .It is not too late to repent.  But it soon may be, because no one rally knows when your four minutes will be over."

"Now you may be thinking to yourself, "I already blew it.  My four minutes are already a disaster.  I may as well give up."  If so, stop thinking that, and never think it again.  The miracle of the Atonement can make up for imperfections in our performance."

If the three athletes mentioned above, didn't give up the first time they blew it.  They changed the things that needed changing, and trained harder.  Their hard work eventually earned them a satisfying reward.

Each athlete has a coach, family, and friends to help them on their journey.  We too have our own team, rooting for us, and cheering us along life's path.
"Remember, you are not alone.  The Savior has promised that He will not leave you comfortless.  You also have family, friends, and leaders who are cheering you on."

Years ago, Troy Dunn gave an EFY talk called "Life is a Football Game".  In his talk he says, 
"We're not a bunch of single individuals running around, we're a team - on the same team."  We need to block for each other or look out for each other.  We are in this game of life together as a team.  "This is a game we are in to play to win.  We want to win this game.  We want to get to the Homecoming party, and we all want to be there.  It is no fun to go to a party by yourself.  .  .You don't want to go to a party by yourself, you want to go with everybody you know.  So don't just play on this team to win, play on this team to win and take the whole team with you." 

Torah Bright, knew this.  Recounting her story, Elder Stevenson says,
"With that in mind, is there someone who needs your encouragement? a family member? a friend? a classmate or fellow quorum member?  How can you help them with their four minutes?"
"Dear friends, you are in the midst of an exhilarating journey.  In some ways, you are racing down the half-pipe or sled track, and it can be challenging to perform each element or navigate each turn along the way.  But remember, you've prepared for this for millennia.  This is your moment to perform.  This is your four minutes!  The time is now!
Our Coach, Jesus Christ, has complete faith in us.  He is here to help us, and so is the rest of our team.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell declared that we are living here and now by assignment. “These are your days!” he said. “You are in this time and circumstance by Divine appointment. God knows you and he knows what you have the capacity to achieve.”- source

Go achieve it!!!!  Go for the GOLD!

"I express my utmost confidence in your abilities.  You have the Savior of the world on your side.  If you seek His help and follow His directions, how can you fail?"

Cute gold medal idea HERE.  You could attach the quote from above to the 'gold medal' and you have a darling handout.

Next Week's Talk:
by President Thomas S. Monson

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