Why should we even try to be perfect when we have been taught that perfection is out of reach in this life?
Many of us find the concept of reaching perfection incredibly confusing. We are told to try to be like Jesus, but we are also told that Jesus was the only perfect person to walk the earth. How, then, are we supposed to remain positive and dedicated on our path to perfection when we know that achieving perfection is not a realistic goal in this life?
Elder Vern P. Stanfill addresses this concern in his most recent general conference talk, “The Imperfect Harvest.” In his talk, Elder Stanfill recounts an experience he had in his youth when he and his father were out harvesting grain. After his father adjusted the old farm machine so that it would harvest as much of the grain as possible, young Vern noticed that the machine was still missing some of the precious grain. When he pointed this out, his father replied, “It is good enough and the best that this machine can do.” Later in the year, some migrating geese and ducks, who still had a great distance to fly, found nourishment from the grain that was left behind. Elder Stanfill explains that his questions about the imperfect harvest were then answered: “God had perfected [the harvest]. And not a kernel was lost.”
Life can bring us down when we struggle with perfectionism, but it is important to remember that God’s grace and Atonement are always available to us. We don’t need to be perfect; we just need to do our best. God will help perfect our efforts and make “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).
Read or listen to Elder Vern P. Stanfill’s general conference talk, “The Imperfect Harvest,” to learn more about God’s ability to perfect our efforts.
—Morgan Heath, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY ESTEBAN TRIVELLI
Find more insights
Read John S. Robertson’s 1999 BYU devotional about “A Complete Look at Perfection.”
Take a look at Kevin J Worthen’s BYU address from January 2015 titled “Successfully Failing: Pursuing Our Quest for Perfection.”
Discover Romans 8, which reaffirms that “all things work together for [our] good.”