Sometimes people deride our small efforts to make a difference, saying that there are too many people and our bit of work canít really change anything. Theyíll say not enough people are touched by the efforts of those who try, so why try at all? Itís great that one person got helped, but what about all those that didnít?
Iíve always loved the story of the starfish, in which someone sees an old man or a child, depending on the storyteller, tossing starfish back into the ocean so they donít die. When the storyteller asks why the person bothers, since there are so many that one personís efforts canít make a difference, the person tosses another star fish into the ocean. ďIt made a difference to that one.Ē
As one person we may not have the resources to help every person who needs help. But within our own tiny little sphere of influence, our callings are making a difference. We matter to those few people we touch, and our contribution might just help generations we canít imagine. If one child living in poverty learns to start a tiny little business in Faith in God, that, when sheís grown, lets her get away from the inner city, if a teenager learns the self-respect that prevents her from becoming a teenaged mother, if a child learns to hug instead of hit, youíve made a difference. If a sister arrives at Relief Society feeling like a failure and your lesson sends her home feeling hopeful, then youíve change the worldóher world and the world of those around her.
Some callings donít seem important. Iíve heard people joke about the Relief Society greeter or the hymn book straightner. However, have you ever walked into a ward building and had no one say hello or offer you a hug? If the greeter gives you a hug or an enthusiastic smile, donít you feel more ready to learn? If you sit down and there are no hymn books at your seat, donít you feel just a tiny bit annoyed, which interferes with the spirit?
Sometimes weíre lucky and someone tells us how our teaching impacted her life. Most of the time we never know. We continue teaching and never guess that someone went home and was happier, stronger, or more at peace because of our hard work in or calling. But God knows, and the person knows, and people may be affected who will never even meet you, because your hard work might set into motion events of eternal significance.
A young girl asked me what I would do if no one came to Faith in God. Our group is so tiny, that could happen. I told her as long as someone was on the roll sheet who was supposed to be there, I would be there, whether or not anyone ever came. What Iím doing matters, and if anyone happens to show up, I want to be there for them.
Roughing It Easy at Girls Camp