Can Little Things Bring Great Joy?

By Jay F

How can I be a better neighbor?  How can I love my brother?  It’s the little things that matter.

Some time ago, I observed a good friend of mine writing something.  I inquired as to what it was.  She explained that it was a postcard to her grandmother.  I think I probably furrowed my brow a bit and made some remark about it being a lot easier to just shoot off an email.  She said that her grandmother liked getting postcards.  I still didn’t really understand, but what she said next left a permanent mark: “It’s such a little thing and it brings her so much joy.”

I still often reflect on those words.    I know that, too often, I have been guilty of neglecting to do those little things that could be of such great benefit to someone else.  And, regrettably, these little things are the exact things that God has given us to help us in our journey.

He’s shown this to us repeatedly.  For example, the Bible tells us of how, while traveling through the wilderness, the people of Moses started mumbling against him and God.  So, God saw fit to send fiery serpents after them.  The people didn’t take long to see the error of their ways, so they petitioned Moses to pray for them to save them.  So he did.  And how did the Lord respond?  Not with anything fancy or grand—he commanded Moses to put a brass serpent on a pole and promised that whoever looked at it would live.  (Numbers 21: 4-9)

The Lord didn’t ask anything hard of the people.  He simply asked them to look on a brass snake on a stick and that was all it took.  What’s interesting is that another prophet, when referring to this incident, mentioned that many people died because they didn’t believe that the simplicity of the task could save them (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 17:41).  So, again, how often do we overlook the joy, relief, or other support we could give our fellow man (or indeed, those we love most) because of the seemingly simple way we could provide that support?

This realization has encouraged me to seek out those simple opportunities and refuse to “be slothful because of the easiness of the way” (Book of Mormon, Alma 37:46).  I can promise you that as you look for those opportunities, you’ll bless not only the lives of those around you, but you’ll enjoy more peace and joy for yourself as well.

As luck would have it, while penning these thoughts, the same good friend as referred to at the beginning of this story, mentioned that she needs to be up for work early. She expressed frustration because early hours are not really her thing. So, I offered to call her and help her get out of bed and on her way.  Why? Because it’s such a little thing and it’s so meaningful to her.  And really, that’s what loving one another is all about.

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