Tuesday, February 22, 2022

President David O. McKay on the power of little things

President David O. McKay (1873-1970) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1906.  He served as a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith beginning in 1945, then then as the president of the Church from 1951 to his death in 1970 at age 96.
"Little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown by eruption. It rises up and increases as noiselessly and gently as not to disturb an angel's ear, perhaps is invisible to an angel's eye. The rain does not fall in masses but in drops; the planets do not leap in their orbits, but inch by inch and line by line they circle the orbits. Intellect, feeling, habit, character, all become what they are through the influence of little things, and in morals and religion, it is by little things, by little actions, that every one of us is going—not by leaps, yet surely by inches—either to life or death eternal.
"The great lesson to be learned in the world today is to apply in the little acts and duties of life the glorious principles of the Gospel. Let us not think that, because some of the things may seem small and trivial, they are unimportant. Life, after all, is made up of little things. Our life, our being, physically, is made up of little heart beats. Let that little heart stop beating, and life in this world ceases. The great sun is a mighty force in the universe, but we receive the blessings of his rays because they come to us as little beams, which, taken in the aggregate, fill the whole world with sunlight. The dark night is made pleasant by the glimmer of what seem to be little stars; and so the true Christian life is made up of little Christ-like acts performed this hour, this minute—in the home, in the quorum, in the organization, in the town, wherever our life and acts may be cast."
- David O. McKay, "True to the Faith," p. 153

This is a beautiful thought from President McKay. We sometimes expect grand and glorious events, dramatic progress, spectacular achievements, leaps in understanding. But in almost every case, it's the "little things" that really indicate progress, now and eternally.

All of life is "made up of little things," from the physical beats of each individual's heart, to the rays of sunlight that provide life sustenance, to the Christ-like acts that make life meaningful. What a valuable reminder!
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. (Alma 37:6)

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2022)
September 7, 2015

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