- In 1876, a renowned educator named Dr. William Clark was invited to come to Hokkaido to teach. He lived in Japan for just eight months, but his Christian spirit left a lasting impression on his young non-Christian students. Before leaving, he gave his students a parting message that has become immortalized in this bronze statue. He said, “Boys, be ambitious!”—“Be ambitious for Christ.” His injunction to “be ambitious for Christ” can help direct daily decisions for today’s Latter-day Saints.
He shares with us what he believes it means to be "ambitious for Christ."
- What does it mean to “be ambitious for Christ”? Being ambitious for Christ means being motivated, focused, and dedicated to His work. Being ambitious for Christ will seldom mean that we are singled out for public honor. Being ambitious for Christ means that we serve faithfully and diligently in our wards and branches without complaint and with joyful hearts.
He shares two examples of great people that learned to serve with ambition. The first was a missionary in Japan that had only one leg due to a childhood accident. He was assigned to ride a bike in Japan while serving his mission. On several occasions, his leg was damaged and in need of repair. As Elder Yamashita spoke with him, he noted that his missionary application stated that he would like to serve on a place that had a car. He asked this young man why he didn't ask to be reassigned and he said that the Lord called him to serve in Japan and he accepted that call.
The other example was the son of Elder Yamashita who struggled with his missionary calling in the early days of his mission. Through the struggles, discouragement, and heartache, he found his way and learned what needed to be done to be a successful missionary. He overcame the trials and found peace and comfort in the Savior.
Elder Yamashita shares with us that we can focus on the Savior as he is our ultimate example of the way we should live our lives.
- In our lives we experience trials, but if we are ambitious for Christ, we can focus on Him and feel joy even in the midst of them. Our Redeemer is the ultimate example. He understood His holy mission and was obedient to the will of God the Father. What a choice blessing it is to bring His wonderful example to our remembrance each week as we partake of the sacrament.
- My dear brothers and sisters, we are ambitious for Christ when we serve faithfully, accept humbly, endure nobly, pray fervently, and partake worthily.
- May we be ambitious for Christ as we accept our difficulties and trials with patience and faith and find joy in our covenant path.
This talk was very impactful on me when I heard it in General Conference. I love the idea of being "ambitious for Christ" and my initial thought when he said it was that I needed to stand up for my beliefs and not be afraid to share my beliefs and standards. I think this idea has application in all the lives of the members of the church. We will all have discouragements, trials, and heartache. When we have those occur, we need to seek the Savior and turn that pain into action. To me, being "ambitious for Christ" means I accept that I am not perfect, that I need the atonement, and that I try my best to always remember Him so I can have His spirit to be with me. If I do, I will be blessed to be on the correct path of discipleship.