The Great Commandments

of the Seventy

August 7, 1988

We are not justified if we “pass by on the other side,” hurrying to our priesthood meetings or to the temple or to do visiting teaching or anything else if there is something at hand we should do that the Lord wants done. I don’t think we should or need to choose between serving God and serving our fellowmen.

If you were asked the question “What element of Christ’s life or attribute of his character or part of his ministry best represents to you his majesty and personal relationship with us,” what would your answer be? I am going to talk specifically about one potential answer. It is the answer I have been thinking about for some time; it would likely be my answer to the question.

I am going to lay a foundation by presenting to you a few ideas I have carefully considered. I hope they will have appropriate inspiration for you in your hearts. I have been thinking about speaking on this subject at this school for a long time because I have had very strong feelings about it and, of course, for this school and you who attend it. But I have not done so—intimidated, perhaps, by the supposition that so important a theme has already been sufficiently treated, or that it surely should and would be by those more qualified to address it.

I have also had the recurrent remembrance of a college experience to deal with, and I confess that worries me even now. I had carefully prepared and presented quite well, I thought, a briefing of a consequential case in an important course, and then awaited the response of the learned professor and several students previously assigned to critique my efforts. I had the feeling that all were poised somewhat in the fashion of runners straining at the blocks waiting for the starter’s gun.

But it was not of the students that I was most apprehensive. The dean of the school, who was teaching that class, had earned a reputation as a crusty and vigorous defender of the law, against ignorant and callow students. His brief comment came soon enough to my anxious ear: “Thank you, Mr. Hanks,” he said, “for that thoroughly unnecessary delineation of the obvious.” The class then undertook to consider the deeper meaning of the matter at hand.

So basic is this subject today, and so widely discussed and written of and so generally thought to be believed and understood already, that there may be those present less charitable than others who may be tempted to murmur when I am through, “That was an unnecessary delineation of the obvious.”

Nonetheless, I undertake the challenge of speaking about the “great commandments” and, specifically, though they are inseparable, about the second great commandment. The Apostle James called it the “royal law.” Paul told the Galatians that “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Galatians 5:14; emphasis added).

Love the Lord and Love thy Neighbor

There are fundamentals of our faith so essential to our ultimate creative opportunities, possibilities, and associations that we call them first principles and ordinances. Perhaps not all of us are inclined to consider loving and serving and giving to our fellowmen among them. Yet the Savior of mankind thought they were critical, as manifested in his totally unselfish life and in his teachings.

When Christ was asked by a contentious lawyer, “Which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22:36)—or, as another gospel writer reported it, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25)—he answered, as Matthew recorded it,

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. [Matthew 22:37–39]

In Luke’s version, Jesus then asked the questioner what the old law said in answer to his own question. Quoting from the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, the man answered just as Jesus had answered. From Deuteronomy 6:5: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” From Leviticus 19:18: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” In Matthew’s account the Savior added these words: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40).

Luke’s gospel then provides the setting for Christ’s sobering parable of the Good Samaritan by quoting the lawyer asking Christ, “And who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:29). Out of this powerful story known to all of you—this story of a traveler from Jerusalem to Jericho who was set upon, robbed, wounded, and left at the wayside by thieves—comes a basis for understanding who is the neighbor we are commanded to love and what our own status is as a neighbor to those in need.

You will remember that involved in the story were a priest (church leader or teacher) and a Levite (one of the tribe assigned to temple service). Both of them “passed by on the other side,” neither stopping to help (see Luke 10:31–32). Both were preoccupied or too busy with important assignments. Or both were too unimpressed, perhaps, with the “weightier matters” of which Christ spoke. Christ joined mercy with just judgment and faith as the “weightier matters” with which we should be concerned (Matthew 23:23), and in this parable he defined mercy for us as the care and concern shown by the Samaritan who did not pass by on the other side but stopped to give immediate and sustained assistance.

Jesus then said to the questioner and to us, “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37). Loving neighbor, mercy, giving, service, caring, sacrifice—all are brought together in one compelling, understandable, and personally applicable example.

I hope we all can repeat what many people outside the Church who are committed to strong religious conviction can repeat: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16; emphasis added). It is written again that Christ “so loved the world that he gave his own life” (D&C 34:3; emphasis added) that we might become his spiritual sons and daughters. And it is again written,

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. [Luke 6:38; emphasis added]

And again: “Ye are to be taught from on high,” said the Lord in the latter times. “Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken” (D&C 43:16; emphasis added).

Obedience to the Principles

Loving and giving. God loved and gave. Christ loved and gave. We are here to learn how to love enough to get our minds off ourselves, at least sometimes. As a commitment to Christ and as an element of our religious faith, we must look for, seek for, and respond to the needs of those about us. As children of God, loving him, we have all his other children as our neighbors and we have the commandment to love them. We are neighbors to them; we are to show mercy. This royal law—this one word in which all the law is fulfilled, this companion law with love of God, on which all the law and prophets depend—is indispensable as a solid base upon which our eternal opportunities rest.

Now, these fundamental laws we speak of, obedience to which all blessings are predicated upon, are in nature really opportunities—gifts—since they open the way toward that spiritual maturity possessed in its fullness by our Father and our Lord and which they desire us to develop. These laws are not designed to limit us. They are the laws the scripture says “also maketh you free” (D&C 98:8)—coupled with the truth, which “shall make you free” (John 8:32). These laws are more inclusionary than exclusionary. The spirit of entitlement is in them as well as commandment. Gifts they are, bestowed to support us as a foundation, pointing us toward the ultimate development of our eternal potential.

But, you ask, is giving help, across the wide spectrum the scriptures teach us, really as important as those other first principles? Yes! And that I believe is the burden of my message and conviction. Yes, it is as important, as a principle! For all of these fundamentals relate to and include each other indivisibly, inseparably. Jesus so lived and so declared and so the scriptures teach.

We do not need an extensive rehearsal of what these first principles and ordinances are—only a line or two about each:

Without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. [Hebrews 11:6]

Justice will have its place, but mercy claimeth the penitent, and “none but the truly penitent are saved” (Alma 42:24).

“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” and “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he [she] cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5).

Paul taught us (and our experience corroborates it fully) that the things of God can only be taught and only be understood through the Spirit of God. We have learned that affliction and tribulation are part of living mortally and that “Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).

We know that there are other essential sacred ordinances available in sacred places for those who desire them. We know that nothing unclean can be received into the kingdom of God. Affirming these and other commandments, the principle we are thinking about tonight announces that our salvation and our happiness depend as much upon how we treat other human beings and help them meet their needs as it does upon the other great fundamentals. Indeed, this is the test of our understanding and internalizing of the other fundamentals. If through them we do not become more Christ-like, we have not felt the efficacy and power of those sacred principles and ordinances.

This principle is as important as missionary work and temple work, and, indeed, is of the same spirit and same significance—inseparable, I repeat, from the heart of that work. One signal verse of scripture gives promise to those who worthily experience the ordinances of the temple:

And that they may grow up in thee, and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost, and be organized according to thy laws, and be prepared to obtain every needful thing. [D&C 109:15]

What remarkable consequences are performed for obedience to the principles and ordinances of the gospel. All of them lead us to Christ and our Father in Heaven.

When Christ commanded his disciples to go into the world to teach and baptize, what else did he say? He told them to go out to all nations, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). And what would this include?

In his last three great summational parables recorded in chapter 25 of Matthew, Christ taught about the wise virgins who prepared themselves and about the virgins who did not. And then he taught about talents and their bestowal and their enjoyment and their application—or not—and the consequences of our choices. Then, in the third and one of the best known of his parables, he taught about a time when the king will return and separate the sheep on his right hand from the goats on his left. To those on his right the king will say,

Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat. [Matthew 25:34–35]

You know the rest of that special parable:

I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. [Matthew 25:35–36]

The modest people on the king’s right hand will say, because they are honest or they would not be there, “Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee?” (Matthew 25:37). They wanted more than anything to enjoy the blessing he was holding out to them, but they didn’t really feel worthy. They didn’t remember ever finding him hungry and feeding him, or thirsty and giving him drink, or naked and clothing him, or homeless and taking him into their homes, or sick or in prison and visiting him.

I pray all of you know the answer, and you should know it verbatim: “And the King shall . . . say unto them, . . . Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).

But that isn’t the end of the story. In the rest of the parable he said some harsh things to those on his left hand: “Depart from me . . . into everlasting fire. . . . For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat” (Matthew 25:41–42). And then he went through the whole litany. They were indignant: “Why are we here? Why aren’t we on your right hand? When saw we thee an hungred? Why, Lord, we would have crawled from here to wherever to give you our last morsel, had we known it was you!”

Do you remember how he finished?

Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. [Matthew 25:45–46]

These, the book says, did not “minister” to those to whom they were neighbors. They did not minister to those who were their neighbors.

Does this sound like an option to you, this second law interpreted in terms of our relationship with the way we treat others, the way we look upon them, the way we regard them, interpreted, as Jesus did, in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10)?

Our Readiness to Meet the Lord

Out of the Book of Mormon, this strong source of so much that is so good, I read from Alma where he establishes a series of questions as the standard by which we may judge our own readiness to meet the Lord. “If ye have experienced a change of heart [if you have ever felt it in your viscera, your eyes, or your backbone; if you have ever tasted it, sensed it, responded to it; if you have ever had this], I would ask, can ye feel so now? Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? . . . [Have you] been sufficiently humble? . . . Are ye stripped of pride? . . . If ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God” (see Alma 5:26–28).

Is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? . . . such an one is not prepared; . . .

And . . . is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?

Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved! [Alma 5:29–31]

The specific and significant prophetic instructions in the teachings of the Lord on our responsibility to each other are so numerous and clear that it would seem beyond misunderstanding. And yet I wonder if in our own minds we have elevated to its holy significance this relationship established by that invitation and command: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

I have earnestly sought to understand what the scriptures teach about this matter. I believe and attest and testify that the way we treat each other and our fellowmen is as significant a criterion of our character and the quality of our faith and our future as any other principle or ordinance of the gospel. Repeatedly and unequivocally the Lord specifically points to our response to those who are poor, needy, afflicted, hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless, sick, and imprisoned, and also to those who have other needs.

In the days of serious struggle in the fledgling Church in June 1831, a conference was held in Kirtland, Ohio, at which significant priesthood matters were announced. Missionary emphasis was given and assignments were made, sending out the men two by two.

And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith.

Let them go two by two, and thus let them preach by the way in every congregation, baptizing by water, and the laying on of the hands by the water’s side. [D&C 52:9–10]

This is a plain statement of fundamental first principle and ordinance. Note what is subsequently said in this same section. The place of ordinances is discussed. We often hear the greatest of emphasis given to ordinances, and so we should, but note the pairing of ordinances and personal preparation:

Wherefore he that prayeth, whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances.

He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances. [D&C 52:15–16]

There is no question about the significance of the ordinances. Then this plain and understandable declaration is made:

Let the residue of the elders watch over the churches, and declare the word in the regions round about them; and let them labor with their own hands. . . .

And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple. [D&C 52:39–40; emphasis added]

The charity taught in the scriptures is defined as the pure love of Christ. It is very broad in its meaning, but it seems never better expressed to me than when we share with others in the spirit of his unselfish life—doing what good we can, giving, serving, sharing, listening, lifting the burden. “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” wrote the Apostle Paul, “and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

There is one magnificent summation out of a multitude that might be read that I want to share with you to express my understanding of the spiritual maturity the Lord represents and wants us to attain. It comes in the words of a solemn and stirring witness by Amulek as he testifies of Christ’s atoning gift—the last great sacrifice, infinite and eternal. He referred to the great question in the people’s minds—whether or not Christ was indeed the Son of God. Then he said, “And now behold, my beloved brethren, l say unto you, do not suppose that this is all” (Alma 34:28).

Amulek talked about the fundamentals, about exercising their “faith unto repentance,” about prayer and all that it implies. Do you remember that long list of remarkable, repetitious, and yet fresh invitations? This is how it finishes. Surely every missionary would have this marked in his mind and his book:

And now behold, my beloved brethren [and sisters], I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is in vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.

Therefore, if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out, (it being of no worth) and is trodden underfoot of men. [Alma 34:28–29; emphasis added]

Time does not permit me to share much more of the wealth of the scriptures at this time, but I urge you to be interested as you read for understanding. Think what the Lord has to say about our response to the needs of each other. His words are sobering, to say the least.

If any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment. [D&C 104:18; emphasis added]

I presume that means whoever he is and whatever else he has done. “Behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands,” he said to a group of his people who had a great commission and had not succeeded in it,

but [they] are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;

And are not united . . . ;

And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom. [D&C 105:3–5]

Apparently those laws include the very matters of which we speak.

There is a remarkable line out of a long and important passage in the great story of Mosiah about one who turns aside a beggar:

O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent [taking the attitude that he has had his chance, he won’t work, his problems are his own fault]; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. [Mosiah 4:18]

That doesn’t sound very optional, does it? After we have done all the good things we have been called to do with as much sincerity as we have to commit to the cause, if we do not take a lively interest in those who have special needs, then we do not meet the conditions.

We have mentioned only those fundamentals in the Savior’s initial declaration which early in these few moments I pointed to as the heart of what I wanted to say. Christ talked of the hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless, sick, afflicted. There are many who have other needs. Look around you with your minds for a moment. Are there those who have need of a kind word or a gentle arm? Is there someone who could prosper from a little note that says something sincere and generous and encouraging?

You Have Much to Give

I will open very slightly the door to my modest closet of remembered personal experiences of this kind and tell you about a time when I was a missionary standing on a street corner in a major city in the United States with my companion, without a cent in our pockets. We had laughed about that; our money hadn’t come. It was scarce anyway; we had little, but we had always had sufficient for our needs. This day we only had car fare to go to and come back from an area where we were teaching some people—we had transfers for the streetcar in our pockets. We were quite a way from our apartment.

I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw a man standing by a light pole. He seemed to start toward me hesitantly, and I quickly turned away. I just had an intuition he was going to ask me for help. My first thought was that I could not help him and I panicked a bit at that. I looked back and he had quickly retreated. He had caught that I had turned away. I felt sick as I saw his embarrassment. I went to him and said, “I sense that you would like to talk to me and I have to tell you that we are missionaries. I am sorry that there isn’t anything we can do for you tonight.”

He was immediately apologetic, backing away and saying, “I didn’t know that. I wouldn’t ask missionaries for anything. Please forgive me.”

I said, “Tell me a little about yourself.”

“I’m from Hamilton,” he said, “a town fifty miles away. I lost my job recently. I came here this morning trying to find a job but didn’t get here in time. I have no way to get home. I have not eaten, I haven’t money to telephone my family, and I know my wife and children will be worrying and afraid.”

I said, “We’re not far from where we live. I have a transfer for the streetcar. Please use it and get on with my companion. I won’t be much longer than you getting there, though I will likely be delayed a little.”

He said, “Oh no, no.”

I said, “Yes, yes, please. I have already had a heartbreak in turning away because I sensed your need and had no money to give you. We cannot leave you here.”

It wasn’t a big expostulation. It was a young man’s guileless expression of what I had learned all my life in a widow’s home. He finally agreed. He was discouraged and afraid. And so I ran, all the way. I ran fast and hard and got there a little ahead of them. We had good food in the apartment and I prepared some. The landlady was a gentle person who had a room where he could stay. We called Hamilton, Ohio, and he talked to his family.

I said, “Please tell them you will stay here tonight. Maybe tomorrow there is something we can do to help.”

The next morning I called the branch president, a wonderful, gracious, Christ-like man who built and rebuilt and refurbished and brought homes up-to-date. I told him the story. He said, “He can have a job starting this morning.” President Gilliam provided a place for him to stay and, soon, a place for his family, and he was on his way up. And I have nurtured in my heart for more than forty-five years a blessing I would have missed had I not helped this man.

I honestly believe this sense of concern was motivated both by the Spirit and by a home where helping an elderly little Scandinavian lady who lived a block away from our house was normal and expected. Sister Olsen needed help and had no helping family, so Mother regularly saw that she had food and that her little room was cleaned, and we tagged along. It was not particularly palatable for a little boy. I used to hold my nose and I’m ashamed of that. But we would go in and clean up.

I think often of my mother, to whom so many people came for help when she had heavy burdens of her own, including taking care of her little children by herself after our father died. She had the disposition to help others, and she seemed to find the time and resources necessary to meet the needs.

Look around you. Maybe, just maybe, limited as you are, and perhaps even in trouble yourself financially, there is someone to whom your outreach can mean much. There are so many who have needs that we may be able to help.

I desire to mention another special personal experience. I was teaching a class of many, many people in a chapel and adjoining cultural hall at the university. It was too large a class to permit much participation, but one night, facing maybe six or seven hundred people, I looked down and saw a face and said, “Bishop Garrett, do you have something you would like to share with us on the subject we are discussing?” This startled him for a moment, and then he said, “Yes, I think I do, Brother Hanks.”

He came to the front and spoke: “A wonderful older couple lived in our ward. I was their bishop, and I also became almost like a son to them. They had no relatives and really no close friends. For reasons not necessary to mention, they moved to a little town far from this city. We kept in touch by phone because they had so few other contacts in this country.

“Then one night, as I walked to an early meeting of my bishopric, I had a clear vision. I am not a visionary man, but in my mind I saw something that night. I saw a long, narrow, oblong room with a casket at one end and a lady standing alone by it. I had read of the husband’s death in the morning newspaper. I had said to my wife, ‘We ought to go, but I can’t. I have an important meeting that I cannot miss.’

“I rushed to the meeting that evening and told my counselors I had made a bad mistake and should be someplace else and asked them to go on without me. I drove too swiftly all the way to that small town with its small mortuary. I went inside the long, narrow room, and there inside was my vision specifically fulfilled: a single, solitary little soul standing by the casket of her beloved, her husband of many years. I went to her and held out my arms. She said, ‘Oh, Bishop Garrett, I knew you would come.’”

Well, we ended the class with a testimony and an expression of gratitude. I knew what the Lord had wanted us to learn that night.

I pray that some of the same sweet spirit from these scriptures we have read tonight will cause you to understand that you have much to give.

I want to add that one time I had wisdom enough to pick up a pen and paper and write a letter to a coach in our state. He had dismissed almost his entire offensive and defensive starting team because they had conspired to break training rules. They thought he would not dare cut them off prior to their very big, publicized game, but they had clearly broken the rules under plain understanding of what was to happen. The few that remained did valiantly, but their team was slaughtered that weekend by a lower-ranked school.

I said in my note to the coach, “I have one son, and it probably won’t happen, but if the good Lord were willing and that boy could play under your leadership, I would do anything I could to get him to you.” I never met the man; I have not met him yet. I said, “I honor you. I commend you. I am grateful to live on an earth where there is somebody like you, because I love kids and you have just done something important.”

He wrote back and said, “You would be interested, Mr. Hanks, to know what has happened to me since that day when I cut those boys off the team. I have had the ugliest threatening letters and warnings, been hanged in effigy, had a cross burned in my lawn, been told to get out of town or else, had parents who would like to beat me up. I have had all kinds of letters from the other side, and two—yours and the college president’s—that commended me. Because of those two letters I have stayed.”

This note didn’t come until more than a year later when he had met the same opposing team with a team he now had that understood him and kept the rules. He was a great coach. They won the game, but that isn’t really important. It isn’t the publicity or the fame; it is the deed that counts. He had that kind of backbone. I had no such grand ideas when I penned that note. I was just honestly telling him how I felt as a human being.

You and I need to look around, reach out, assess our own capacities, and see those who are lonely, disaffected, and feeling unloved. Those people are no whit less valuable in God’s eyes than the sweetest and handsomest and most talented of you. I am not suggesting that you run about foolishly, but I am suggesting that you open your eyes.

This principle is sacred in the eyes of God Almighty and his holy Son. We are not justified if we “pass by on the other side,” hurrying to our priesthood meetings or to the temple or to do visiting teaching or anything else if there is something at hand we should do that the Lord wants done. I don’t think we should or need to choose between serving God and serving our fellowmen. We cannot run faster than we have strength, and it is true also that there are seasons in our lives when we can do more than at other times. But all of us can do something, and most of us more than we are doing. I honestly think you won’t be overwhelmed with competition if you begin quietly to look!

For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?[Mormon 8:37, 39]

May God bless you. I testify that there is the sweetest joy in this world that I know of in the small and seemingly unimportant little things we do, not for the fame or glory or so we can talk about them, but because we see a need and we act.

There was a little girl who had had a hard time being born. I spoke with her for a minute about her name. I have a daughter with the same name; it is a beautiful name. Some time passed and her father said to me one day, “You didn’t know, but Mary died not long after you were with us. She had been disturbed over her name. Kids made fun of her because it was so plain. Then you stopped for a minute or two and talked to her about it and that made a difference. Mary thereafter had some of the happiest weeks of her life.”

Would that make you feel exalted with importance? What it made me do was weep and wonder how many times I might have done something to help someone and missed the opportunity and the blessing.

I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need
Made me blind.
But I never have yet
Had a twinge of regret
For being a little
Too kind.

May God bless us, I pray, that we may have some sweet sense of relationship with him that comes about because what he did we are trying to do, too, in our own small patterns. God bless you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Marion D. Hanks

Marion D. Hanks was a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this fireside address was given at Brigham Young University on 7 August 1988.