How far does this Elder Oaks model of prioritizing go? Where do we separate having personal lives and serving God. For example, I could have casual reading time reading a science fiction novel. That may be “good”. But if I followed this model of good, better, best, I feel I could never have casual reading ever again. It’s either reading scriptures(best) or feeling like I’m doing something that is “less” and feeling bad about myself by reading a novel. I hope this makes sense.
I’m sure the Lord is pleased with your desire to serve Him diligently. As with most things, the best thing you can do is follow the Spirit. Elder Oaks gave a wonderful talk…to the whole church. Now your job is to work with the Holy Ghost to understand how that applies to YOU. In the example that you gave, would it really be the best for you to read the scriptures and nothing else? I don’t think so. When I reread Elder Oaks words, I don’t think that is what he intended either. He said:
“Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in viewing television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading books or magazines. Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best. When the Lord told us to seek learning, He said, “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom” (D&C 88:118).”
Notice he didn’t say don’t read anything but the scriptures. He seems to be emphasizing the time we spend on these activities, and also reminding us that not everything is worth our time. I have heard stories of individuals absolutely consumed by playing video games, negatively affecting them both physically and socially. That is neither healthy nor wise.
What I strive to do is start my day with the scriptures. Then later in the day, if I have leisure time, I might read casually or watch television as long as these choices are “wholesome entertainment.”
Stephen, the Lord loves you more than you can imagine. He wants you to learn and grow and become like Him. In order to do that, you need to learn about a great many topics, and spend time serving others as well. I believe He also wants you to relax and enjoy yourself at times. Moderation is a key here. Be prayerful about your choices, and the Lord will guide you by His Spirit. In moderation, and as guided by the Spirit, we should be able to enjoy ourselves without becoming unnecessarily frustrated and guilt ridden for not doing our “best” in everything, all the time.