Yesterday, although very busy, was a sweet day indeed! Slim’s best friend Richard gave his homecoming address, so Slim, Spanky, Drew and I attended the morning ward to listen to him. It was a really neat feeling sitting in sacrament meeting with my two oldest, now grown men, while watching and listening to another young man who spent a lot of time in our home.
I can only imagine the feeling is close to sitting in the temple with all of them. The three of those very different men, all doing what the Lord is asking of them and trying to be who the Lord asks them to be. My heart swelled with gratitude. (Especially considering Scuff and Tammy are currently serving mission and Sport will be ordained an Elder later this week.)
I couldn’t help but feel sincere gratitude for the blessings of the Lord in my life and the lives of my children.
One of our amazing sister missionaries spoke yesterday during our meetings. She quoted one of the Brethren, though I cannot remember which one and told the story of the beehive. She said that each bee in its life time only contributes 1/12——–
Never mind. I looked up the story. It is Elder Ballard and here are his words:
My father always tried to involve me in his work with his hives, but I was very happy to let him tend to his bees. However, since those days, I have learned more about the highly organized beehive—a colony of about 60,000 bees.
Honeybees are driven to pollinate, gather nectar, and condense the nectar into honey. It is their magnificent obsession imprinted into their genetic makeup by our Creator. It is estimated that to produce just one pound (0.45 kg) of honey, the average hive of 20,000 to 60,000 bees must collectively visit millions of flowers and travel the equivalent of two times around the world. Over its short lifetime of just a few weeks to four months, a single honeybee’s contribution of honey to its hive is a mere one-twelfth of one teaspoon.
Though seemingly insignificant when compared to the total, each bee’s one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey is vital to the life of the hive. The bees depend on each other. Work that would be overwhelming for a few bees to do becomes lighter because all of the bees faithfully do their part.
(Why take my word for it when you can hear the voice of a prophet?)
This story impressed me personally because I have all of these grand ideas about how I would like to serve in the Lord’s kingdom. I want to have this calling or be in charge of this event or class, blah, blah, blah, blah. Often, I am not terribly excited or thrilled with the callings and assignments I receive in my day to day life. (I obviously do not have enough gratitude for the opportunities the Lord does give me.) And I do not always feel like I am doing enough to show my gratitude for the wonderful gift the atonement has given me.
So when I heard that in its entire lifetime one little honey bee contributes only 1/12 of one teaspoon of honey, and I know that in my family alone, we can go through 5 pounds of honey in one week, I again was amazed at the Lord’s ability to be in the details of our lives, and the understanding that the meager contribution of one small honey bee, 1/12 of one teaspoon, is vital to the hive!!
It helped me to see that having grandiose ideas about what my service should look like, or what I want it to look like, is not what is significant or important. The fact that I contribute and serve to lessen the burden of the rest of the hive, that is what is significant.
Listen to this: I gave a talk one time about working mothers to our stake’s young women leaders (Now, I do not want to debate the merits of the talk or discuss that doctrine or people’s agency or circumstances. I recognize there are exceptions, although many of us would like to believe we are the exception when we are not. However, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s just pretend that everyone believed they were not an exception and all women regardless of circumstances were able to stay home. Ok? Just go with me on this one for a minute. That’s what I said in my talk too.) Imagine it was that way. What would those women do with their time, effort, and energy? Well, the ones who didn’t have children and a family in the home, because they are women and their nature is to love and serve (and most of them can’t keep busy by only keeping up with their homes), they would go and serve. They would help other young mothers overwhelmed with housework and children. They would visit the aged and lonely. They would tutor college students and other children in their studies. They would teach piano, sewing, bread-making, canning, and other self-sufficiency skills. They would help their neighbor and the list would go on and on and on. Because of their service, think of what the world would look like compared to what it looks like today. The burdens of our bishops would be relieved significantly because all of that extra service and ministering to the needs of those around them would contribute to everyone’s emotional and mental health, as well.
My service as a mother does that for my family and for those around me. And your service as a mother, a mother in Zion and Israel, does that for the people around you. Our contribution to the hive collectively may only be 1/12 of one teaspoon, but our contribution is nonetheless VITAL to the health and well being of the hive, whether we do it for only one child in our home, or whether we do not have the opportunity to do it for people in our home and serve in the greater community around us. We are, as Sister Shari Dew would say, ‘the Lord’s secret weapon’. Through our service and willingness to contribute our part to the hive, we fulfill the Lord’s work and serve His people.
Elder Ballard had a similar vision:
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” (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.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. …
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The Savior’s words are simple, yet their meaning is profound and deeply significant. 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.
As the Epistle of James notes, service is the very definition of pure religion (see James 1:27).
We read of the service Church members provide around the world and especially the humanitarian service given in times of crisis—fires and floods and hurricanes and tornadoes. These much-needed and much-appreciated emergency responses should certainly continue as a way of bearing one another’s burdens. But what about our everyday lives? 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.
These simple, daily acts of service may not seem like much in and of themselves, but when considered collectively they become just like the one-twelfth teaspoon of honey contributed by a single bee to the hive. 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.
The important thing to remember is that your contribution counts, and counts significantly, regardless of what is actually looks like or what you want it to look like. Just because you might only be able to give a little, your little matters, it matters to all of us and it relieves the burdens of many. So go about your daily work in the kingdom with your head held high.
I will throw this little bit in too. I have often considered myself not a very great missionary because no one I ever personally talk to actually gets baptized. (I measure by results, which is not fair or right either, I know. I am working on that.) But nonetheless, I struggle sometimes because I feel like I do not have any ‘results’. However, the Lord has been trying to help me to understand that I am doing my part and that my part is significant. Every time someone interacts with me, I leave them better than when I left them (except for that whole Ms. P stuff, which I have been working on also…..) But, part of being a missionary is leaving people better than when we found them. Our example and attitude can help to lift others, which brings them closer to Christ and closer to someday accepting His doctrine even if today they are not ready to meet with the missionaries and join the church. Behaving in a Christlike manner with our interactions with the little bit of humanity the Lord gives to each of us, is enough, regardless of how they receive our kindness and service. (So there is my other two cents. Now you have exactly four!)
Have a wonderful day! I need to go and make breakfast now for the crew!