Thursday, August 1, 2013

Flecks of Gold

Missions are full of simple joys, sometimes very small but meaningful.  When the work is hard, as it often is, I look for these simple things...from smiling at funny English signs on buildings to seeing friends around the city to remembering childhood fun to trying to smile at everyone I meet so they have a positive experience with me.  Just trying to be a good representative of Christ every day is part of that, too.  These are all like the tiny gold flecks from the conference talk by Elder Ballard.  The grateful collector can gather a wealth of gold.  I want to be a grateful collector.

(From Joshua's mom, here is an excerpt from the talk to which Joshua is referring.  M. Russell Ballard spoke in April 2011:)

Oftentimes we are like the young merchant from Boston, who in 1849, as the story goes, was caught up in the fervor of the California gold rush. He sold all of his possessions to seek his fortune in the California rivers, which he was told were filled with gold nuggets so big that one could hardly carry them.
Day after endless day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. His only reward was a growing pile of rocks. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit until one day an old, experienced prospector said to him, “That’s quite a pile of rocks you are getting there, my boy.”
The young man replied, “There’s no gold here. I’m going back home.”
Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, “Oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it.” He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.
Noticing a bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector’s waist, the young man said, “I’m looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks.”
The old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.
The old prospector said, “Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’re missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.”
This story illustrates the spiritual truth that Alma taught his son Helaman:
“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. …
“… And by very small means the Lord … bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Alma 37:6–7).

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