The littlest things can make a world of a difference. A phone call, a hug, a smile– all convey care, concern and love for one another. I received a card in the mail the other day from a sister in the ward. She expressed her joy in my new calling, her faith in me, and ended with an offer to help in any way. This is the same sister who sent me a card when I moved in, welcoming me to a new ward. She also dropped by while I was still in the hospital after giving birth to Ava. Her small acts of kindness made a world of a difference in me.
Alma passes the scriptures to his son, Helaman, and counsels him:
Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls. (Alma 37:6-7)
Dan & I have been thinking about this the past two days during scripture study. Naaman is a wonderful example of small and simple things. He was afflicted with leprosy, and he asked to be cured. He figured the Lord would just touch him, or cause some grand display to cure his illness. Instead the Savior told him to bathe in the Jordan River 7 times. Who would think bathing in the river 7 times would make a difference? Naaman sure didn’t. But by doing this small and simple thing, a greater thing was brought to pass.
Or another example would be from Elder Rex Pinegar’s 1967 meeting with then-Elder Howard W. Hunter. Elder Hunter was to set Elder Pinegar apart for a calling, but Elder Hunter suggested that Elder Pinegar’s new calling wasn’t important. Elder Hunter said,
“Brother Pinegar, we don’t need anyone to serve in that calling. Do you know what we need?” I sat there not knowing how to respond. I was wondering if I was mistaken about my call. In his pleasant way, he said if we were to stop the next one hundred members of the Church who passed in front of the Church Administration Building, almost all of them would be able and willing to serve in that same calling. “What we need,” he said, “is home teachers. That is the great need in the Church today.” (Rex Pinegar, “The Simple Things,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 80)
It’s so easy to think that the details are not significant. It’s quite easy to get caught up with “good” things (baking, beautifying the home, sewing beyond what you need) when the “great” things, or rather small and simple things (scripture reading, prayer, making time for Sabbath Day worship and observance) are not getting done. And then we wonder why we aren’t progressing and the prayers are bouncing off of the walls at night.
I think of Bella’s small act of kindness to gather up her toys for another, and who knows what greatness that can behold. I think of the translation of the Book of Mormon. The Lord himself called the Saints’ persecutions small things, but greatness has come to pass through that.
By faithfully doing the small things, great things will be brought to pass.