“In the Lord’s calculus, He will do everything He can to help us turn our slopes toward heaven.
This principle should give comfort to those who struggle, and pause to those who seem to have every advantage. Let me start by addressing individuals with difficult starting circumstances, including poverty, limited access to education, and challenging family situations. Others face physical challenges, mental health constraints, or strong genetic predispositions. For any struggling with difficult starting points, please recognize that the Savior knows our struggles. He took “upon him [our] infirmities, that his bowels [might] be filled with mercy, … that he [might] know … how to succor [us] according to [our] infirmities.”
…let me share two areas of counsel for those with elevated starting points. First, can we show some humility for circumstances we may not have created ourselves? As former BYU president Rex E. Lee quoted to his students, “We have all drunk from wells we did not dig, and warmed ourselves by fires we did not build.” He then called on his students to give back and replenish the educational wells that earlier pioneers had built. Failure to reseed the fields planted by others can be the equivalent of returning a talent without increase.
Second, focusing on a high starting point can often trap us into feeling that we are thriving when in fact our inner slope may be quite stagnant. Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen taught that the most successful people are the humblest because they are confident enough to be corrected by and learn from anyone.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson counseled us to “willingly [find ways] to accept and even seek correction.” Even when things appear to be going well, we must seek out opportunities to improve through prayerful petition.”