Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin on the importance of each individual in the Church

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1986, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1986 until his passing in 2008 at age 91.
"True disciples of Jesus Christ have always been concerned for the one. Jesus Christ is our greatest example. He was surrounded by multitudes and spoke to thousands, yet He always had concern for the one....
"This instruction applies to all who follow Him. We are commanded to seek out those who are lost. We are to be our brother’s keeper. We cannot neglect this commission given by our Savior. We must be concerned for the one.
"Today I would like to talk about those who are lost—some because they are different, some because they are weary, and some because they have strayed.
"Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.
"Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.
"This variety of creation itself is a testament of how the Lord values all His children. He does not esteem one flesh above another, but He 'inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God' (2 Nephi 26:33)."
- Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Concern for the One," General Conference, April 2008
Click here to read or listen to the full article

I loved this talk by Elder Wirthlin. It expressed such caring and sympathy for each individual. He recognized the Savior's example in giving personal attention to "the one," and our responsibility as His disciples to do likewise. Then he identified specific examples of individuals who sometimes need particular love and care.

The one who is different from the normal Church member in some way was foremost on his list. We are each different from others, but sometimes those differences are more pronounced and noticeable; those are the cases where we need to show an increase of love and acceptance.

We often feel more comfortable surrounding ourselves with those who are most like us. But truly, as we discover the blessing of difference, we recognize both the opportunity to serve those in need, but also the personal growth that comes as we are blessed by the things we learn from those who are different.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15