I came walking upstairs from the basement the other day and found this simple yet profound message made from pipe cleaners hanging on the wall:
Princess Julia, as I call her, our household joy spreader, made it and placed it on the wall as a reminder for our family to give love continually give and show love to each other.
When I see that sweet message, I cannot help but think of our Savior Jesus Christ, who, of course, was the epitome of love. He is love! Everything He did was because of love. And because of all He did, because He first loved us, we cannot help loving Him in return. Likewise, we cannot help feeling the same way about the Lord’s servants. I’ve been blessed to meet a few of the apostles, but don’t have a direct personal relationship with any of them. Yet, I love them as if they were family. Why? Because I know they love me! I know them by their words and their works. As I listen to and apply their words, I feel the Holy Ghost, who is the testifier of truth and the bearer of love.
So, what can we — me, you, and everyone — do to be more like the Savior and His Servants? The answer is simple: We can do as they do. We can go about doing good and giving love away through acts of kindness every day. We can be “kindness givers.”
What We Can Learn From Bees
In his marvelous October 2012 General Conference address entitled “Be Anxiously Engaged,” Elder M. Russell Ballard (now President M. Russell Ballard) spoke of the amazing honeybees and how collectively they fly thousands of miles and visit thousands of flowers gathering nectar to condense into honey. He explained that for all their effort, a single honeybee only produces one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey, yet their individual contributions are vital to the survival of the hive. By working collaboratively, “a single hive can produce anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds of honey every year.”
In his talk, Elder Ballard described how “Brigham Young chose the beehive as a symbol to encourage and inspire the cooperative energy necessary among the pioneers to transform the barren desert wasteland surrounding the Great Salt Lake into the fertile valleys we have today.” He explained that the beehive symbol is found on many of our temples and adorns the pulpit in the conference center from which general authorities speak. Elder Ballard then made this powerful statement:
All of this symbolism attests to one fact: great things are brought about and burdens are lightened through the efforts of many hands “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (See D&C 58:27). Imagine what the millions of Latter-day Saints could accomplish in the world if we functioned like a beehive in our focused, concentrated commitment to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He continued by reminding us of the two great commandments, to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves, after which he said the following:
We are to love God and to love and care for our neighbors as ourselves. Imagine what good we can do in the world if we all join together, united as followers of Christ, anxiously and busily responding to the needs of others and serving those around us—our families, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens.
Finally, Elder Ballard asked this question and followed up with an answer:
What would be the cumulative effect of millions of small, compassionate acts performed daily by us because of our heartfelt Christian love for others? Over time this would have a transformative effect upon all of our Heavenly Father’s children through the extension of His love to them through us. Our troubled world needs this love of Christ today more than ever, and it will need it even more in the years ahead” (emphasis added).
Elder Ballard, was, of course, prophetic in his teachings and his statement. Now, seven years later, there never was a time in the history of the world when the sweet nectar of love was needed more than it is now. Unless you’re living in a cave with no access to TV or Internet (and have been for several years), it is impossible to escape noticing the rapid escalation of vitriol and hate, not only in politics, but in nearly all areas of our lives.
Making a Difference
So, what can you and I do to make a difference? What can we do to stem the tide of vitriol and hate that is constantly flowing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year via television, radio, and social media? How can we take action to answer Elder Ballard’s question? I am bold enough to make the promise that if we will do the following five things every day, we will not only answer Elder Ballard’s question, but in the process we will transform our own lives, families, neighborhoods, communities, nations, and yes—transform the world.
- Determine every day to follow Christ’s example and be kindness givers who give love away through simple acts.
- Think about simple acts of kindness you can perform.
- Pray for the Lord’s help to look for and recognize simple acts of kindness you can do.
- Perform simple acts of kindness.
- Encourage others to do the same.
That’s it. That’s the simple, effective, actionable formula. It may seem overly simplistic, but it works.
Elder Ballard promised:
There is power in our love for God and for His children, and when that love is tangibly manifest in millions of acts of Christian kindness, it will sweeten and nourish the world with the life-sustaining nectar of faith, hope, and charity… Like the little honeybee’s one-twelfth teaspoon of honey provided to the hive, if we multiply our efforts by tens of thousands, even millions of prayerful efforts to share God’s love for His children through Christian service, there will be a compounding effect of good that will bring the Light of Christ to this ever-darkening world. Bound together, we will bring love and compassion to our own family and to the lonely, the poor, the broken, and to those of our Heavenly Father’s children who are searching for truth and peace.
We’ve been given the charge to help gather Israel by sharing the gospel. What better way to win the hearts of our fellow human beings than by serving them, even as Ammon won the hearts of King Lamoni’s servants through his service? What better way to do our part, to make a difference for good, to lose ourselves, and find ourselves than through serving our Heavenly Father by serving our fellow man? What better cause to be involved in than the cause of giving love away, or, in other words, than the cause of giving Christ away, for Christ is love?
We can all be kindness givers if we are willing. May the Lord bless us in our efforts.
Randall McNeely is a husband, father of five, and author. He is also a singer/songwriter and has written several patriotic songs, children’s songs, and multiple religious hymns. The best known is 'Oh Jesus, Savior of Mankind', which won a Special Recognition award in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 2008 Music Submission contest. He and two of his daughters have also recorded and released the children’s song Everybody Speaks Smile! Randy has a firm testimony of Jesus Christ. He is the light and the life of the world. It is said and written of Him that "He went about doing good." In doing so, He weaved light into the hearts and souls of all with whom He came in contact, both in word and deed. Randy's desire is to have the same said of him. He wants to have the words and lyrics he writes uplift, inspire, and bless others. To read more articles by Randy visit his Pure Testimony website at www.puretestimony.org.