It is regarding the fact that we need to be reminded that, in total and over a significant period of time, “seemingly small things bring to pass great things”.
As we joined with other Christians in celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ this past Easter week, and with the ANZAC commemorations on Wednesday of all our servicemen and women that have gone before and of those remaining and in service, may we say that small things bring to pass great things. Lest we forget!
As for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the literal Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a pillar of our faith.
Because we believe the accounts in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon about the literal Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we also believe the numerous scriptural teachings that a similar resurrection will come to all mortals who have ever lived upon this earth.
That resurrection gives us what the apostle Peter called “a lively hope” (1 Peter 1:3). That lively hope is our conviction that death is not the conclusion of our identity, but merely a necessary step in our Heavenly Father’s merciful plan for the salvation of His children.
That plan calls for a transition from mortality to immortality. Central to that transition is the sunset of death and the glorious morning made possible by the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour that we celebrate on Easter Sunday.
In a great hymn whose words were written by Eliza R Snow, we sing:
‘How great, how glorious, how complete Redemption’s grand design,
Where justice, love, and mercy meet in harmony divine!’
In further reference of that divine design and harmony, we assemble in meetings, including conference, to teach and encourage one another.
Today we share the idea that “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6, BOM).
We are taught many small and simple things in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We need to be reminded that in total and over a significant period of time, these seemingly small things bring to pass great things.
We are reminded of the power of small and simple things over time by something as simple as a cracked concrete path next to a tree.
The thick and strong concrete is cracking. Is this the result of some large and powerful thrust? No, this cracking is caused by the slow, small growth of one of the roots reaching out from the adjoining tree.
The thrusting power that cracked these heavy concrete sidewalks was too small to measure on a daily or even a monthly basis, but its effect over time was incredibly powerful.
So is the powerful effect over time of the small and simple things we are taught in the scriptures and by living prophets.
Consider the reading of your scriptures, that we’ve been taught to work into our daily lives.
Or consider the personal prayers and the kneeling family prayers that are regular practices for faithful Latter-day Saints.
Consider attendance at seminary for youth or institute classes for young adults.
Though each of these practices may seem to be small and simple, over time they result in powerful spiritual uplift and growth.
This occurs because each of these small and simple things invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost, the Testifier who enlightens us and guides us into truth.
Another source of spiritual uplift and growth is an ongoing practice of repenting, even of seemingly small transgressions.
Our own inspired self-evaluations can help us see how we have fallen short and how we can do better.
Such repentance should precede our weekly partaking of the sacrament. Some subjects to consider in this process of repentance are suggested in the hymn, ‘Have I Done Any Good?’:
‘Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?’
We are surrounded by media influences and cultural deteriorations that will carry us downstream in our values if we are not continually resisting.
To move upstream toward our eternal goal, we must constantly keep paddling.
It helps if we are part of a team that is paddling together, like a rowing crew in action. To extend that example even further, the cultural currents are so strong that if we ever stop paddling, we will be carried downstream toward a destination we do not seek but which becomes inevitable if we do not constantly try to move forward.
President Steven C Wheelwright gave a similar caution to his BYU-Hawaii audience at the 2007 Devotional in Hawaii.
“It is in failing to do the small and simple things that faith wavers, miracles cease, and progress towards the Lord and His kingdom is first put on hold and then begins to unravel as seeking after the kingdom of God is replaced with more temporal pursuits and worldly ambitions.”
Such as the steady drips of water sink deep into the ground and provide a high moisture level in the soil wherein plants can flourish.
In like manner, if you and I are focused and frequent in receiving consistent drops of spiritual nourishment, then gospel roots can sink deep into our soul, they can become firmly established and grounded, and they can produce extraordinary and delicious fruit.
Continuing, Wheelwright said, “The spiritual pattern of small and simple things bringing forth great things produces firmness and steadfastness, deepening devotion, and more complete conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel”.
I believe if we all desire to press forward, our commitment to do so is strengthened by consistently following the “small things” we are taught by the gospel of Jesus Christ and the leaders of His Church.
I testify of Him and give His blessings on all who seek to keep on His covenant path, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints