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Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast. This will be given May 1, 2016.

A high school student learned a valuable lesson as he took a college entrance exam a few months ago. The night before the test, he read through the instructions he had received. He verified the time the exam would start. He sharpened his pencils. He put his calculator in his backpack. He felt ready for the early morning test.

The next day, as the test began, the teacher invited the students to use their calculators on the math section. The young man pulled his calculator out and pressed the power button, but the screen remained blank. He tried again. Nothing. And then the shocking reality hit — the batteries were dead, and he had no replacements! He would need to do the math section the old-fashioned way — with paper and pencil.

He learned something that day — and it had nothing to do with math, science or reading comprehension. He learned about the value of preparation. He thought he was prepared, but when the crucial moment came, he faced a problem he had not anticipated. He learned that sometimes being prepared means foreseeing the unforeseen.

Most of us have found ourselves in similar circumstances. We feel comfortable about our lives until a disaster or misfortune makes food, fuel or resources hard to come by. And it’s not only tragedies that require our preparation — sometimes an opportunity arises and we find that our lack of preparation may have closed doors and limited our future.

So how do we prepare? By focusing on things of greatest worth. By placing more value in people than in things. By reading and pondering words that strengthen us spiritually. By taking care of our emotional and physical well-being, living within our means, and enriching our minds through lifelong learning. All this and more will bolster our ability to get through the challenges and seize the opportunities.

The rain falls — and the sun shines — on all of us to varying degrees throughout our life (see Matthew 5:45). Now is the time to think carefully about the future and how to create our best life. Now is the time to prepare.

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM,, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, Sirius XM Radio (Channel 143), and The program is aired live at 9:30 a.m. MDT on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

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