Wednesday, April 18, 2018

President Dallin H. Oaks on the impact of small and simple things

President Dallin H. Oaks (born August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and also 1st Counselor in the First Presidency in January 2018.
"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 scripture study we’ve been taught to incorporate 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, as President Eyring has explained...
"A persuasive secular teaching of this same principle comes from former Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, who wrote: 'The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds and thousands of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private.' (Imprimis, 20:9, Sept. 1991, 4.)
"Those 'seemingly insignificant' private decisions include how we use our time, what we view on television and the internet, what we read, the art and music with which we surround ourselves at work and at home, what we seek for entertainment, and how we apply our commitment to be honest and truthful. Another seemingly small and simple thing is being civil and cheerful in our personal interactions.
"None of these desirable small and simple things will lift us to great things unless they are practiced consistently and continuously."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Small and Simple Things," General Conference, April 2018
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

How much do the little things matter? How much do a few minutes of scripture study or a personal prayer on any given day really impact our life? Perhaps on many days, not a lot; but cumulatively, over time, as the minutes add up to hours and the actions become habits, they matter a lot. Elder Oaks testifies that doing those small, consistent actions really does make a difference over time, because they invite the Holy Ghost into our lives, which will make a difference every day:

Private decisions may seem insignificant. Things like how we use our leisure time, who we choose to interact with, the environment we create for ourselves, what are our priorities: they really do matter as the cumulative effect becomes very great. Practiced consistently, the small things can "lift us to great things."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

No comments:

Post a Comment

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