Wise Investing Yields Eternal Interest


Christopher BreseeCommencement Address given at 
Brigham Young University-Hawaii

April 9, 2011
Christopher Bresee
Student Speaker

Elder Nelson, President Wheelwright, Commissioner Johnson, dignitaries assembled, graduates, family and friends: Aloha.

I remember sitting down in Denmark with my mission President after flying fourteen hours to meet him in the mission home.  As he went over the logistics of serving in the mission, the long flight made it very difficult to concentrate.  Have you ever been talking to someone and they pause in the middle of what they are saying to collect their thoughts or make sure they said the right thing?  He paused and said something that impacted the way I served.  He said to me this, "You know Elder Bresee, you will choose who you will be as a missionary.  No matter who people knew you to be at home and what they expected good or bad of you, you have an opportunity to choose who you are completely anew".

Four years ago, my wife and I made a decision of who we wanted to be.  We wanted to become parents.  That was an interesting investment decision knowing we would both soon be going back to school.  The investment of being parents, working, and finishing our schooling has been the most demanding and difficult thing I think I have ever done.  But I am pleased to report that our investment come September will have tripled.  Being a father and a student has taught me that it is possible to be successful at something as long as you put the Lord and family first.  I am reminded of what the Lord said:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."   Matt 6:19-20

I joke about our investment tripling but honestly it is difficult to quantify the eternal interest in investing our time into our family and others.  I will ever be grateful to my wife. She was the heart of supporting me in school and is the heart of raising our little heavenly treasures at home.  Who has invested time into you?  I have in my hand a list of the teachers as far back as I can remember. These teachers invested their love and time in me.  Without their influence I would not be the same today.  I have another list of church leaders. Here is a list of family and friends whose positive influence helped to develop who I am.  If you ever wonder about the Lord's involvement in your life, sit down and make a list of the people who have invested their time into you.  You will then feel of the Lord's love for you.  You will perhaps feel the words of President Kimball confirmed:

"God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." (Ensign, July 1978, p. 4.)  

I have another list of teachers, student, mentors, and church leaders who have influenced our family since coming to this prophetic University.
There are many things we can learn from such lists.  I will list just five.

1. The Lord trusts that by coming to this University His investment in you will not be wasted.

2. The Lord has and will continue to have mentors at any station in life we come to.

3. His investment in us is not only for our benefit.  He intends us to bless our families, the Church, schools, and the lands which we came from. 

4.  The Lord loves you and is very involved in your life.

5.  We must develop the humility and love to accept mentoring from others and sensitivity to be mentors to others.

It really comes down to people.  Our education is the Lord's investment in the kingdom.  The kingdom is not a place but a people.

I have one more list.  There is but one name on it.  I could not find paper fine enough to put this name on.  Or find an artist skilled enough to pen His name.  He who made the ultimate investment in me and in all of us.  My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, he maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." -Psalm 23.

I will say the same thing my mission president said with a slight change.  Upon returning home, you will choose who you will become.

I promise all of us that if we recommit our lives to His service by serving others, that opportunities will arise and doors will open and we will find joy in the success of others and our own.  I testify these things are true.  In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Photo by Monique Saenz.