Keeping Sacred Covenants
Devotional or Speech given at
Brigham Young University-Hawaii
December 13, 2014
Assistant to the Commissioner of the Church Educational System
Secretary to the Board
Brothers and sisters, aloha. I am grateful to be here with you on this wonderful day of commencement at BYU–Hawaii. Congratulations on achieving this important goal that will propel you forward to a life of service and leadership in your families, in your communities, and in the Church. As you go forward from this great university, I hope that you will always remember the words of President David O. McKay spoken at the 1955 groundbreaking for what was then the Church College of Hawaii. He said that from this school “will go men and women whose influence will be felt for good towards the establishment of peace internationally.”1 Your future holds the opportunity for each of you to be a significant influence for good, and your righteous actions will assuredly establish peace wherever you live.
One of the keys in making a meaningful contribution in your families and in the greater world is to keep the sacred covenants that you have made with our Father in Heaven. By so doing, you will be a light unto many in the world who desperately need your spiritual strength and who will be blessed by your shining example. Your actions will point others toward the supreme example of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. You will be a literal fulfillment of President McKay’s prophetic dedicatory prayer of this school when he said,
“May there radiate from these buildings an aura of light as tangible as personality radiates from each individual, influencing all to live clean and upright lives, to seek truth diligently, to be inspired so to live that others seeing their good deeds may live to glorify ... our God.”2
As you keep the covenants that you have made with Him, He has covenanted with you that He will bless you to be “armed with righteousness and with the power of God.”3 He will never break a covenant that He has made with you.4 You can rely on His promises. As you do what you have promised to do, you will find peace and spiritual safety in an increasingly turbulent and challenging world. Even when life presents seemingly insurmountable challenges, you can be assured that He will never turn away from you; He will not depart from you.5
Heavenly Father has stated that those who keep their covenants will be a “peculiar treasure unto God above all people of the earth.”6 Becoming a treasure unto God involves the utilization of your God-given talents and abilities in blessing the lives of your family members and others of Heavenly Father’s children.
The concept of being a treasure unto God is a humbling and inspiring thought. Developing into such a spiritual treasure is clearly something to be sought after; therefore, each of us should do all within our power to keep His commandments so that we can be prompted to find ways to improve the spiritual and temporal welfare of His children. If we actively look for opportunities to serve others, feelings of true happiness will swell within each of us, and we will find much-needed purpose, direction, and peace in our life.
I have been blessed throughout my life to be surrounded by individuals who have been a veritable treasure to me during some challenging times. Many of these people who have blessed my life have done so as they followed the promptings of the Spirit and acted, without hesitation, on those promptings.
Many years ago when I was a teenager, my parents were undergoing serious challenges with my father’s health and with their ability to provide for the temporal necessities of our family. My father became disabled due to a slow-growing malignant brain tumor and ended up losing his small business, necessitating major changes in our family. Where we had previously enjoyed a modest, middle class lifestyle, suddenly we were faced with having to live off of little to no savings and with no other obvious means of financial support. Although many people in the world experience temporal challenges far greater than what we experienced, it was, nonetheless, an extremely difficult and stress-filled time in our life.
After passing through many months of this economic crisis, my mother and I were trying to figure out how to provide food for our family while at the same time attempting to pay off some of the debts that were owed as a result of the demise of the family business. The outlook for our future did not appear to be bright at that point.
However, one day, a Christmas card arrived in the mail with a very generous check from my uncle who had felt prompted to reach out and help our family. Though not a wealthy man himself, he freely shared of his resources and acted on the spiritual promptings he received, which was a direct answer to our prayers. He was not only a treasure unto God but was also a treasure unto my family in a very real temporal, spiritual, and emotional sense. He helped us in our time of need as he remembered and kept the covenants that he had made.7
Each of you has countless opportunities ahead to bless the lives of others by remembering and keeping the covenants that you have made. These opportunities will be more plentiful as you seek to know the will of our Father in Heaven and act upon the inspiration that you receive. You will truly be “men and women whose influence will be felt for good towards the establishment of peace internationally,” as prophesied by President McKay. Many will call you blessed for your righteous example, your high moral character, and your selfless service.
I invite each of you to prayerfully consider the many ways in which you can do God’s work in whatever part of His vineyard you find yourself. I promise you that you will experience the great joy that comes to all those who seek to know His will and who act on those spiritual promptings in a timely manner. Your potential is limitless and your destiny is secure as you hearken to His commandments and obey His voice. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
1. Riley M. Moffat, Fred E. Woods, and Jeffrey N. Walker. Gathering to Laie. The Jonathan Napela Center for Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Studies, 2011. pg. 158.
2. “Something Wonderful.” Brigham Young University—Hawaii Foundational Speeches. Brigham Young University—Hawaii, 2012. pg. 23.
3. 1 Nephi 14:14.
4. See Judges 2:1.
5. See Jeremiah 32:40; Isaiah 59:21.
6. Exodus 19:5.
7. See D&C 20:37; D&C 136:4.