The temple is like a great lens. It’s a reflector and a magnifier, a redirector and a viewer. Many have said how attending the temple allows us to leave the world around us and enter a different sphere. It is a place where time and fashion disappear. It is the nearest to God that we can come on earth, but how much nearer can you come when you are in His house?
As such, the temple allows us to redirect our attention and refocus our lives on those things that really matter. If we attend the temple often enough, the things we learn there will spill over into our daily comings and goings.
Sometimes we get too caught up in the world to notice those things that are the most worthwhile. We get so preoccupied by satisfying the world that we forget that we ultimately need to satisfy God. In the October 2000 Conference, Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught,
Many individuals preoccupied by the cares of the world are not necessarily in transgression. But they certainly are in diversion and thus waste “the days of [their] probation” (2 Ne. 9:27). Yet some proudly live “without God in the world” (Alma 41:11), with gates and doors locked from the inside! . . . Let us adopt the attitude recommended by President Brigham Young: “Say to the fields, . . . flocks, . . . herds, . . . gold, . . . silver, . . . goods, . . . chattels, . . . tenements, . . . possessions, and to all the world, stand aside; get away from my thoughts, for I am going up to worship the Lord” (Deseret News, 5 Jan. 1854, 2). There are so many ways to say to the world, “stand aside.” (“The Tugs and Pulls of the World“)
Running from place to place, buying this and that, seeking the glory and honor of the world by our wears, being too busy to notice the blessings in life, these things are what the scriptures call “corruptible.” Why are they corruptible? Because they do not last. The second law of thermodynamics takes its toll, as does the reality of the gospel.
We need to make sure that our priorities, our first concerns, are in line with the gospel plan. Elder Oaks spoke on life’s priorities in April 2001 conference:
In terms of priorities for each major decision (such as education, occupation, place of residence, marriage, or childbearing), we should ask ourselves, what will be the eternal impact of this decision? Some decisions that seem desirable for mortality have unacceptable risks for eternity. In all such choices we need to have inspired priorities and apply them in ways that will bring eternal blessings to us and to our family members. (“Focus and Priorities“)
Recently I read Robert Millet’s excellent book, Men of Valor. One of the greatest counsels he gives in the book is to make sure our focus is on the things of eternity:
It is startling how easy it is in today’s busy and complex world to get caught up in the thick and thin things, to become prey to the less important. Means begin to occupy us more than ends. Making a living, being included in the best social circles, providing the family with nice cars, lovely clothes, or extravagant travel opportunities—these may make life enjoyable and comfortable, but they are not the stuff out of which eternal happiness is made. Life is a mission and not a career.
People matter more than things. People matter more than schedules and timetables and products. God and Christ work full time in the business of people, and surely that primary labor contributes in great measure to their fulness of joy. . . .
Truly, as Elder M. Russell Ballard has reminded us, “What matters most is what lasts longest, and our families are for eternity” (Conferrence Report, October 2005, 46). . . .
More than once my friend and mentor, Robert J. Matthews, said to me, “Robert L., be careful not to spend your life laboring in secondary causes.” That’s a haunting warning. . . . What a tragedy it would be to spend our days climbing a ladder, only to realize as we reached the top that all the while the ladder had been leaning against the wrong wall! . . .
If I begin to be conformed to the values of this ephemeral world, if my treasures take the form of automobiles, the size of my home, sports equipment, portfolios, country clubs, and leisure time, then my heart will begin to yearn for more and more of such things. Such things are like “slippery riches”: they will not and cannot satisfy. . . .
Obviously how we think and what we think about will determine our future, even our destiny. God and his chosen servants have entreated the men of the Church, those called out of the world, to think eternally as they act daily. . . .
As we come unto Christ and journey to higher ground, we will desire to spend more time in His temples, because the temples represent higher ground, sacred ground. (p. 18-35)
I hope that we can all take a moment and think if we are really doing those things in our daily lives that please the Lord. How are we spending our time? What do we do throughout the day? Are we attending the temple regularly to escape the demands of this transitory world and refocus our time and attention on those things which are eternal? At the end of the day, our accounting before the Lord will not include how much money we made, but how we spent our time.