*Reveals desires*Leads to change
The world measures people by their intelligence, looks, family status and wealth, but the Lord measures an individual's heart, said Elder marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve Saturday morning.
"When the Lord measures an individual, He does not take a tape measure around his head to determine mental capcity nor his chest to determine his manliness," said Elder Ashton, eliciting laughter from the congregation. "But He measures the heart as an indicator of his capacity and potential to bless other."
As an example of the Lord's standard, Elder Ashton related the criteria given the prophet Samuel when it came time to choose a king to replace King Saul.
"Look not on his countenance, or on the hieght of his stature. . . for the Lord seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearnace, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7.)
Why the heart? Elder Ashton asked, and then answering the question, replied, "The heart is a synonym for one's entire make-up." People are described as big-hearted or good-hearted, and as having a heart of gold, faint hearts, wise hearts, pure hearts, conniving hearts, courageous hearts and more.
"The measure of our hearts is the measure of our total performance," Elder Ashton said. "As used by the Lord, the 'heart' of a person describes his effort to better self, or others, or the conditions he confronts."
Elder Ashton asked members how they measure up. Then he suggested four questions that deal with the heart to help them determine how they are doing:
*How honest-in-heart am I?
"Honest-hearted persons are individuals without pretense, without hypocrisy. They are reliable in word and action. They have no 'hidden agendas' to deceive others or to misrepresent facts. In contrast, those with conniving hearts will deceive and misrepresent."
An honest heart leads to a change of heart. Elder Ashton said King Benjamin wrote that this change causes people to have no more disposition to do eveil, but to do good continually.
Hearts are softened through a desire to know the mysteries of god and prayer, he said.
*Do I have a "willing heart"?
"A willing heart describes one who desires to please the Lord and to serve His cause first. He serves the Lord on the Lord's terms, not his own. There are no restrictions to where or how he will serve."
Elder Ashton related the story of a friend who was a priests quorum advise. One of the young men in the quorum was partially paralyzed on one side. On a kayaking trip to Flaming Gorge, Utah, the adviser and the paralyzed boy rode in the same kayak. They practiced hard, so the adviser could mpensate of the boy no being able to paddle strongly on one side. Diring the trip, the boy's weak hand became blistered and later raw and painful. But he didn't give up and taught the adviser and 11 other boys that heart makes the difference in overcoming many odds and setting standards for others to follow.
*Do I have an understanding, loving heart?
"An understanding loving heart is the pinnacle of all human emotions. As the Apostle Paul said, charity 'beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.' (1Cor. 13:7). We come closest to becoming Christ-like when we are charitable and understanding of others."
One never approaches godliness until he learns to love and lift, Elder Ashton said.
*"If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love,. . . can ye feel so now?" (Alma 5:26.)
"Having a 'change of heart' at one time in our lives is insufficient to give us an understanding heart today. Helping and understanding a person years ago does not fill us with the love of God today.
"Christlike love must be continuous and contemporary," Elder Ashton emphasized.