Center for Latter-day Saint Arts

Come, Follow Me (Art Companion)

To assist people of all ages in their study of the scriptures, the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts has prepared a weekly tool to go with each lesson from the Come, Follow Me manual using fine art and objects created by members of the Church, commentary, and questions to spark discussion.

May 13-19 - "What Lack I Yet?"


Lisa DeLong (American/British, born 1974)

Eve Asks a Question (in progress, 2019)

White ink and mineral watercolors on khadi paper, 20 x 30 inches

Collection of the artist; courtesy of the artist

Artist’s website

The story of the rich young ruler in the book of Matthew presents a challenge for contemporary readers. When asked “What lack I yet?,” having been raised to keep the commandments, the Savior discerned that the young man’s personal stumbling block was his wealth and said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21). What does that mean for us? Are we commanded to sell all our possessions as a prerequisite for perfection?

President Harold B. Lee used the example of the rich young ruler to ask a different question: “Every one of us, if we would reach perfection, must one time ask ourselves this question, ‘What lack I yet?’ if we would commence our climb upward on the highway to perfection. The effective leader is one who helps the learner to discover that lack, to diagnose his basic difficulties, and then to prescribe his spiritual remedies” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places: Selected Sermons and Writings of President Harold B. Lee pp. 206-216).

The artist Lisa DeLong completed her doctoral studies in London at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, focusing on Islamic and Western sacred geometry. She notes that the question “What is lacking?” is an inherent part of the artistic process, and she writes, “Virtually all my best paintings have been through a crisis. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked over my water or dropped a fully loaded paintbrush on a painting I thought was close to completion!)  In resolving a technical crisis, the resulting struggle to recover from disaster is usually precisely what was required to elevate a mediocre piece to something beautifully complete.”

  1. To what extent is courage a necessary component of self-evaluation and self-assessment?  What can you do to gain the courage to seek to be better?

  2. Who are your trusted mentors in the struggle to become your best self?  How can you better focus on the Savior as one of those trusted mentors?  What does it mean for the Savior to be a trusted mentor?

  3. How does knowing that perfection is not to be achieved in this life and that our earthly lives are only a piece of the process help you to continue to focus on self-improvement?

Tell us what you think. How do you like the Come, Follow Me (Art Companion)?