Do you feel like your small, simple acts of service really matter? Scarlet Bushman shares some awesome insight on how each small act of service becomes flecks of gold that fill our hearts with treasure.
Coming Unto Christ
by Scarlet Bushman
Elder M. Russell Ballard shared a story that I would briefly like to relate.
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.”
The Savior stated
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The love the Savior described is an active love. Like the young, gold-prospecting merchant, you might think that to serve you have to do nugget sized things, but I would like to share with you some examples of how small flecks of service can truly become a treasure—the treasure of knowing our Savior Jesus Christ and coming closer to him.
Alma 37:6-7 states “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. … and by very small means the Lord … bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”
If we were to watch a silent movie of the Savior’s life, not hearing any of His words, we would see that everything He did in His life was centered on service to others. Just by watching His actions, we would learn that service was at the heart of His mission here on earth.
Elder Carl B. Cook stated,
The Lord has said, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me,” and we serve Him by serving others.
As we serve, we draw closer to God. We come to know Him in ways that we otherwise might not.
As members of His church, we have opportunities to serve each other all around us. Some opportunities are daily acts of service, some weekly, and others monthly. Doing such small “flecks” will help us come closer to Christ and enrich our lives with valuable treasure.
Ministering to Others Gathers Gold Flecks for Our Treasure
Let’s start with the monthly “flecks.” Ministering to others is a really great way for us to serve others and come closer to our Savior.
Let me give you a couple of examples of how, in the past, home teachers and visiting teachers have influenced my life and added to my “treasure.”
Our first home was in Provo, Utah. We had a home teacher, “Brian,” who came and taught our family each month for the five years we lived there. Brian’s work took him to Asia for 3 weeks out of the month.
Although I appreciated his visits each month, it was not until years later when my husband began to travel weekly for work that I realized that those precious moments he was home were “gold” to me and the kids. I then understood Brian’s sacrifice for our family. He had one week at home each month and yet he made time to come and see us and give us a lesson on the Sundays he was home.
Brian shared a “fleck” of gold with us because he loved the Savior and he wanted to fulfill his calling of home teacher.
Similarly, we had a great home teacher in our next home in Spanish Fork, Utah. “Mike” also came to see us each month for the five years we lived there. Three of those years he didn’t have a companion so would come alone or sometimes bring one of his little boys.
One year, on the last day of January, at 11:00 pm, there was a knock at our door. When I turned on our outside light and looked through our little peephole, I saw a man with a ski mask and a scarf around his neck. That view was a little unsettling until I noticed he also had a plate of cinnamon rolls. When I open the door there was Mike. He said, “Sorry to stop by this late. I had back surgery and couldn’t make it earlier this month.”
I remember thinking “should you even be out of bed?” Yet there he was sharing his faith, giving me another fleck to add to my pile of gold.
There is a spirit that comes into our homes from ministering that cannot come in any other way. Your regular service to our family adds to our treasured knowledge of the Savior.
Visiting teachers have been just as important as home teachers to me. When our children were very little, my husband began traveling for work. He was gone from Monday through Thursday every week. His new schedule was a hard adjustment for me.
During that time, I had a visiting teacher that would visit me sporadically but who was aware of my needs. I remember one spring day being outside playing with the kids. “Angie” drove by pulling up next to me and handed me a Papa Murphys Take-N-Bake Pizza. She said, “I got one for my family and just picked you up one too.”
She smiled and waved and drove off leaving me holding a cheese pizza. I don’t think she realized how helpful not worrying about dinner that day was for me. Her simple act of love meant so much to me that I still remember it years later. We have a really great opportunity to share flecks of gold with our assigned ministering families!
Weekly Service in the Church Gathers Flecks of Gold for Our Treasure
We also have the great opportunity to serve on a weekly basis. We are given callings to help each other build our treasured knowledge of the Savior.
Elder Carl B. Cook stated
In the Grand Council before this world was organized, Jesus, chosen and anointed from the beginning, volunteered, “here am I, send me.” In so doing, He literally became the servant of us all.
When we serve in His church, we become His true servants.
President Thomas S. Monson taught us “whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” and “when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help.”
I testify that the Lord can help qualify each of us for each of our callings. He knows our weaknesses and knows our strengths.
Your weekly service and faith are flecks of gold. Sometimes your service and faith are nuggets of gold added to the treasured testimonies of His children.
When we are called, we are set apart and given a priesthood blessing to assist us. Each blessing is individual and personal and I truly believe this is another way our Savior and our Father in Heaven serve us. If we listen closely, we will hear Him speaking directly to us. He knows us. And this, in turn, increases our faith in Him. It adds flecks of gold to our treasure. It increases our desire to serve Him.
Let me share an example. In 2018, I was asked to serve in the primary presidency in our ward. When our bishop set me apart, I listened really closely. The first thing he said was that I would be blessed to have the energy I needed for that calling.
Now, to anyone else in the room, it might have seemed like energy was a good thing to bless someone who would be around 120 children on a weekly basis. But to me, it was another confirmation of how our Heavenly Father knows each one of us and is aware of our needs. Only a handful of people—and the bishop was not one of them—knew that last year I had been diagnosed with low thyroid.
There were some days when I would come home from work and I could not get up from the couch. I had absolutely no energy. It took about eight months for my doctors to find the correct dose that would allow me to function normally. There are days that I feel just fine and some days when I am still pretty tired. \
The blessing of energy was specific to my needs. It was another fleck of gold that I have added to my testimony of this gospel.
Serving Others Daily Adds Flecks of Gold to Our Treasure
We are also given the opportunity to follow our Savior’s example of love by serving our family members and friends daily. Family Home Evening, scripture reading, and family prayer all serve our family members by helping them get to know Jesus Christ.
We smile and say hello to neighbors and coworkers. We follow little promptings that don’t seem big or important, but they are!
I’ve been the recipient of so many flecks of gold. They really are all around us if we just look for them. I will share just one experience with you.
Recently, I got food poisoning. It was awful. My husband and daughter were on a trip. My boys were an amazing help. They got themselves ready for school and helped me with making dinner and all the chores.
While the kids were in school, I laid in bed feeling awful and thinking, I really need to drink something or I’m going to be dehydrated.
I said a quick prayer for help and, not five minutes later, my doorbell rang. Standing there were my 3-year-old twin niece and nephew holding a bottle of Gatorade.
I knelt down to say thank you but no words came out. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude, I just sobbed. I might have scared them a little.
My sister, who was getting her baby out of the car, finally made it to the door and just said, “I thought you could use some Gatorade and some help today.”
She did something relatively small. To her, it seemed like a little fleck but it was just what I needed. She followed a simple and small prompting that to me added a nugget size gold piece to my faith. It helped remind me that our Heavenly Father listens and loves us and often uses us as His hands to help add flecks of gold to someone else’s testimony.
Each Act of Service and Love Brings Us Closer to Jesus Christ
Elder M. Russell Ballard closed his thoughts about the prospector’s story by saying
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.
I testify to you that little acts of service allow us the opportunity to emulate the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. In His service, we learn to love as He does and to live like He lived. Each fleck of gold helps us come closer to Him.