BETA

By small and simple things

Sometimes little things make a big difference.

Two stories well-illustrate that point:"I was walking one autumn afternoon west along a narrow path in a lush forest. As the sun split through overhead tree branches, it caught - and illuminated - a single fragile line of a spider web stretching in front of me across the trail.

"A testament to the majesty of the Lord's creations, that delicate web - engineered to be much stronger than its innate strength - was but a routine passage for a confident spider.

"Had the light not hit the line just right, I would have never seen it, kept walking and without ever knowing it, destroyed that spider's passage way to the other side of the trail.

"Luckily for me, and the spider, I did see it - and was allowed to watch the determined spider calmly crawl along that line. But when the web's path ran into the shade, it appeared, even at close range, that the spider defied gravity and crawled along through midair.

"In only a few seconds, the spider completed his journey, leaving the web and crawling onto a tree branch - footing that must have seemed massive compared to his web bridge - and continued on with his unknown plans.

"To the spider, this was so commonplace - so small an act - that it was nothing. To me, however, it was remarkable."

The second story also celebrates the glory of God's creation.

"There are few things in this world as stunning as a full harvest moon sitting, as it were, atop a nearby mountain range as the moon first appears for the evening.

"That sight was our pleasure just a day or two ago as my wife and I happened to be driving in our car. That moon, foreshadowing its full splendor, poked just a sliver of itself above the mountain as we drove on that clear autumn evening. In a matter of just a few moments, it had risen above the mountain and sat there - virtually a perfect circle seemingly as bright as the dawn.

"But as we traveled along the highway, our position changed. And even more quickly than it had risen a minute earlier, the moon now retreated back behind the mountain until it was no longer visible.

"The moon's position, of course, had actually changed very little. It was our position - winging along the highway - that had changed, enough, at least, to alter our view of the moon. But, actually, relative to the moon's roughly 386,000-kilometer distance from the earth, the mile or so we moved in the car was very, very small. But the result was drastic. Our line of sight relative to the mountains and the moon was changed - and the moon was now obscured."

Sometimes small things make a large difference.

In this well-known verse, the poet reinforces that idea:

"Sow a thought, and you reap an act; sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny."

For example:

  • For a teen, finding a few minutes each day to read the Book of Mormon isn't such a difficult thing. Even the busiest of schedules allows for such time. Doing so seems a small thing. Yet it lays the foundation for great spiritual development and is essential in coming to know God. The small effort reaps a mighty reward.
  • Given that the Lord blessed us with 24 hours in each and every day of our lives, the time invested in night and morning prayer is, again, rather small. However, cultivating and developing a continuing relationship while communing with the Father is essential.
  • Being kind generally takes so little effort; its benefits are astounding. An inquisitive child wants an answer to a question. A busy mother stops her chores long enough to lovingly respond. The question's answer is far less important than the mother's smile. A child has learned love.
  • A car patiently waits to pull onto a grid-locked street, jammed with cars, buses and trucks. Given the seemingly endless line of bumper-to-bumper traffic, the driver anticipates a long wait. But in one of the faceless vehicles, another driver waits, creating a space for the first driver to enter the road. The deed was so small that neither party will dwell on it. But it certainly left both with good feelings.

As Alma described to his son, Helaman, "Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. . . ." (Alma 37:6.)