Friday, November 4, 2011

One Flake at a Time...

In life we search for happiness. Sometimes we expect that it should be easy. But true happiness and true success takes great effort, and that's what makes a truly blessed and happy life so valuable. It's all about dedication, and diligence, and doing the right thing when you'd rather give up.

Elder M. Russell Ballard tells of a 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.”

Elder Ballard goes on to say, "Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most... Great things are wrought through simple and small things. Like the small flecks of gold that accumulate over time into a large treasure, our small and simple acts of kindness and service will accumulate into a life filled with love for Heavenly Father, devotion to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a sense of peace and joy each time we reach out to one another... Love the Lord, lose ourselves in the service of others, and be kind. That is the way to true spiritual wealth."

I know all too well that life can be full of challenges, trials, and sometimes even great disappointments. But when we focus our energies outward, serving others and making those right choices when life is hard and we'd rather have a pity party, we will be blessed and we will be happy. I know this. It's true. 

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."  —William James

"Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."  —Dr. Seuss

"Be an opener of doors."  —Ralph Waldo Emerson

"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass."  —Alma 37:6