Music and the Spoken Word

Time Well Spent - Sunday, October 5, 2014

In Proverbs we read the admonition “Ponder the path of thy feet” (Proverbs 4:26). Often our feet move so quickly from one important task to another that thoughtfully pondering our path can seem unrealistic—or even a waste of time.

But we all need some time for private reflection and introspection; without it, we lose perspective and focus in our lives. Without some occasional deep thinking about our values and our place in the universe, we lack direction and a sense of purpose. Pondering gives us an opportunity to sort things out, to set aside the unimportant and seek a connection with something eternal—even with God Himself. Indeed, the most meaningful pondering includes prayer, which Ralph Waldo Emerson defined as “the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view.”1

A son remembers watching his father, a gifted speaker and writer, sit on a rock wall near his home for what seemed like hours—“thinking, meditating, pondering things that he would say and write. … Life was for him a great adventure in thinking,” he recalled.

The son never forgot that lesson, and when he became a noted leader, speaker, and writer in his own right, he encouraged people to “go out into the dark of the night, look at the stars, and ponder their place in the eternal plan of the Almighty”—to do as the Psalmist did and “consider [the] heavens, the work of [God’s] fingers, the moon and the stars, which [He has] ordained,” and ask, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:3–4).2

Pondering is spiritual and mental exercise that elevates our thoughts from the trivial to the vital, from the mundane to the divine. Then when the time comes, as it always does, to return to our daily tasks, we do so with renewed focus, purpose, and energy. And we find that our brief, sacred moment of deep and humble pondering was indeed time well spent.

-Lloyd D. Newell

1. The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (2009), 147.
2. See Gordon B. Hinckley, “Life’s Obligations,” Ensign, Feb. 1999, 5.