2009
Of Greatest Worth
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“Of Greatest Worth,” Liahona, Sept. 2009, 45–46

Of Greatest Worth

Ray Taylor, Utah, USA

When I selected the painting of the Savior, a couple of my brothers and sisters snickered. Items that they thought were more valuable still remained among the things that had belonged to Mom and Dad.

We were gathered at our childhood home, where Mom had been living when she died a few weeks earlier. Dad had passed away five years before, in 2001. Now it was time to divide up their belongings. We drew numbers and selected items, the person with the lowest number making the first pick.

The bedroom set went first, followed by the refrigerator, dining room table and chairs, and late-model car. I selected the piano, even though I don’t play. We had enjoyed music in our home when I was growing up. Dad often served as ward music director, and both my parents sang well. My father, who was a big man with a powerful voice, never turned down an opportunity to sing. The piano meant a lot to me, as did the painting of the Savior.

When I chose the painting, which was framed alongside a copy of “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,”1 it was hanging on the wall of the family room, where we were sitting.

At such a time I couldn’t help but think about the Savior, the plan of salvation, and how much my parents meant to me. And I couldn’t help but feel gratitude for the way they had raised us, the gospel they had taught us, and the example they had set for us, including their willingness to serve.

When Dad was called as bishop, he reminded the stake president that he was 70 years old. “I think you’ve got the wrong guy,” he had said.

“How old do you think the Brethren are up in Salt Lake City?” the stake president had asked in reply. “You weren’t our first pick. You weren’t even our second pick. You were the Lord’s pick.”

Dad knew that he had been called of God, and he became a good bishop. There was nothing flashy about him. He was not an expert on the scriptures. He was just a down-to-earth man who showed a lot of empathy for ward members.

While Dad served as bishop, I served as a counselor in another bishopric in our stake. As we attended leadership meetings together, our relationship became focused on Christ, and I got to know his spiritual side.

When Dad was called as bishop in 1994, he was suffering from health problems. “Does this calling guarantee me five more years of life?” he jokingly asked the stake president. Two years after Dad was released, he passed away.

These thoughts crowded upon my mind as we finished dividing up my parents’ belongings. After returning home, I looked for the right place to hang the painting of the Savior. As I flipped it over, to my surprise I saw that it had been dedicated to my father: “We will always remember Bishop Taylor as a big man with a heart to match.” It was signed by our stake presidency: “President Cory, President Carter, President Stubbs.”

Suddenly the painting became even more valuable to me. Today it hangs on a wall in my home above my parents’ piano. There are still some things at our old home that I selected but haven’t picked up. It doesn’t matter. I have the things of greatest worth.