Christ instructs us to be “perfect,” but when we study his words and actions, it’s clear that he looks at our effort more than our outcomes.
The modern world preaches that outcomes are the key indicators for success. What counts is whether or not we hit a metric, achieve a milestone, or earn a certain grade. So when we evaluate our discipleship, we might find ourselves applying a similar framework. When we do this, however, we will always fall short of Christ’s perfection. Luckily, the Lord measures our discipleship by effort, not by outcomes.
In his talk “Are We Not All Beggars?,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recounts when Judas Iscariot murmured against Mary for anointing Jesus with oil. Jesus patiently rebuked Judas, explaining that “she hath done what she could.” And so we see the metrics by which Christ evaluates our discipleship: Have we done what we could?
Our circumstances are always changing. A full-time missionary has more time and energy to offer the Lord than the struggling student balancing two jobs does. That doesn’t mean that the best efforts of the student are worth less than the missionary’s. When we bring our widow’s mite to the temple, the Lord honors our sincere sacrifice—no matter its relative value.
Our preoccupation with metrics is not shared by our loving Heavenly Father. As Elder Holland explains, “If there would be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the ninety and nine who need no repentance, then apparently God is not overly preoccupied with percentages.”
We won’t ever be perfect in this life, and that’s okay. We can each apply sincere effort to living righteously, serving faithfully, and following diligently.
Read and watch Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s full talk “Are We Not All Beggars?”
Source: General Conference
—Caleb Williams, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY GUSTAVE DORE
Find more insights
Read more about the struggle of perfectionism from Nathan Read.
Learn about what being perfect really means from Cecil O. Samuelson in his BYU devotional.