In the 46 years since he joined the Church, Vince Chrzanowski has served in many callings. When he was released as a bishop many years ago, someone asked him, “What did you learn?” After some thought, he responded, “I learned to love people.”
Through the years and with each subsequent calling, Brother Chrzanowski has tried to ask himself, “What am I learning?”
Brother Chrzanowski now serves as the patriarch of the New London Connecticut Stake. Magnifying that calling has taught him, “how glorious people are in the eyes of God, truly glorious.”
Brother Chrzanowski said that as he places his hands upon each individual’s head, without exception, “I can see them as Heavenly Father sees them. There’s no such thing as an ordinary person.”
God is the Ruler of the universe. He told Moses, “Worlds without number have I created” (Moses 1:33). But in addition to being “infinite and eternal,” “unchangeable,” “the framer of heaven and earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:17), He is also our Father. We are His literal offspring and created in His image. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28).
The “paradox of man,” explained President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, is that in comparison to God — Who is all knowing, all powerful and all present — man is nothing. And yet to God, man is “more precious than fine gold” (Isaiah 13:10).
“We may look at the vast expanse of the universe and say, ‘What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?’ God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory — the purpose for this magnificent universe — is to save and exalt mankind. In other words, the vast expanse of eternity, the glories and mysteries of infinite space and time are all built for the benefit of ordinary mortals like you and me. Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters.
“While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation — worlds without end — within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it” (“You Matter to Him,” October 2011 general conference).
What would happen if each individual discovered this truth for himself or herself? What problems would be solved, burdens lightened and struggles averted if each soul recognized himself or herself as a precious child of God endowed with divine attributes?
Discovering their divine identity enables individuals to develop the capacity to “face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness and triumph with humility,” said then-Elder Thomas S. Monson. “We are sons and daughters of a living God, in whose image we have been created. Think of that truth: ‘Created in the image of God.’ We cannot sincerely hold this conviction without experiencing a profound new sense of strength and power, even the strength to love the commandments of God, the power to resist the temptations of Satan” (“Yellow Canaries with Gray on Their Wings,” April 1973 general conference).
An understanding of our individual worth means we need never feel “insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten,” President Uchtdorf taught. “Always remember — you matter to Him!” He then shared four divine principles to consider.
“First, God loves the humble and meek, for they are ‘greatest in the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 18:4).
“Second, the Lord entrusts ‘the fulness of [His] gospel [to] be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world’ (Doctrine and Covenants 1:23). He has chosen ‘the weak things of the world [to] come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones’ (Doctrine and Covenants 1:19) and to put to shame ‘the things which are mighty’ (1 Corinthians 1:27).
“Third, no matter where you live, no matter how humble your circumstances, how meager your employment, how limited your abilities, how ordinary your appearance, or how little your calling in the Church may appear to you, you are not invisible to your Heavenly Father. He loves you. He knows your humble heart and your acts of love and kindness. Together, they form a lasting testimony of your fidelity and faith.
“Fourth and finally, please understand that what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley expressed similar sentiments in the April 1995 Young Women General Meeting when he said, “There is something of divinity within each of you. You have such tremendous potential with that quality as a part of your inherited nature. Every one of you was endowed by your Father in Heaven with a tremendous capacity to do good in the world. Train your minds and your hands that you may be equipped to serve well in the society of which you are a part. Cultivate the art of being kind, of being thoughtful, of being helpful. Refine within you the quality of mercy which comes as a part of the divine attributes you have inherited.
“You need never feel inferior. You need never feel that you were born without talents or without opportunities to give them expression. Cultivate whatever talents you have, and they will grow and refine and become an expression of your true self appreciated by others.”
May we do a little bit better at living up to the divine within each of us and remember that we are “truly glorious” in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.