It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
"The constant exercise of our faith by lofty thinking, prayer, devotion, and acts of righteousness is just as essential to spiritual health as physical exercise is to the health of the body. Like all priceless things, faith, if lost, is hard to regain. Eternal vigilance is the price of our faith. In order to retain our faith we must keep ourselves in tune with our Heavenly Father by living in accordance with the principles and ordinances of the gospel."
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
We can have His Spirit by keeping that covenant. First, we promise to take His name upon us. That means we must see ourselves as His. We will put Him first in our lives. We will want what He wants rather than what we want or what the world teaches us to want. As long as we love the things of the world first, there will be no peace in us. Holding an ideal for a family or a nation of comfort through material goods will, at last, divide them. The ideal of doing for each other what the Lord would have us do, which follows naturally from taking His name upon us, can take us to a spiritual level which is a touch of heaven on earth.
And becometh a saint . . . submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him. [Mosiah 3:19]
These attributes are eternal and portable! Being portable, to the degree developed, they will go with us through the veil of death, and still later they will rise with us in the Resurrection when all else stays behind. Meanwhile, so much of our time is ironically devoted to learning and marketing perishable skills that will soon become obsolete. It isn't just the morticians who will have a vocational crisis in the next world, brother and sisters.
As we make these choices, we might consider that the glitter and excitement of festive, fun-filled projects are interesting, but the shut-ins, the lonely, the handicapped, the homeless, the latchkey kids, and the abandoned aged are important.
Worldly magazines, tabloids, and much of the multi-mass media mess of fast-track information we are receiving is interesting and enticing, but the scriptures are important.
The RVs and the TVs and retirement ease make it interesting to wander and play, but people’s needs for selfless deeds are important. There is concern that “wander and play” have replaced “ponder and pray.”
A focus on fashion and getting and spending and the accumulation of things for our enjoyment and comfort is interesting and enticing, but a focus on devoting one’s means and time and one’s very self to the cause of proclaiming the gospel is important.
The meetings and materials and planning are all interesting, but the doing is important.
With the constant exhortation to come unto Christ is the promise that we can be perfected in him. If we do all that we can do by loving and serving God with all of our might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for us. By his grace, after all that we can do, we may become perfect in Christ. Shall we not then strive for the recognition of that Almighty God who is our Father, through our selfless service?
“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
“Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:34–37).