There are some moments in time when you read a book – and maybe just a paragraph in you feel a deep connection to the words and the truth springing from the pages. This often occurs for me with fiction and beautiful woven tapestries that authors create. But this time it was with a non-fiction book – “One by One” by LDS General Authority David A. Bednar.
Being the one and seeking the one
This book touched me deeply and made me think quite a bit about others around me and how I have been the “one” they have reached out to and also made me look inside myself to see times I have reached out to the one in my own life. In either instance, the experience of observing the attribute of the Savior of Jesus Christ and striving to be like him – reaching out to the “one” is something that adds a richness to your life story. Even the very example of watching this is something special.
David A. Bednar: “No coincidences”
In his book, Elder Bednar tells us that he believes there are no coincidences when it comes to God and Jesus Christ showing their love for us. One of his stories really spoke to me. He had been working on a project at home and realized he didn’t have all the necessary tools to complete the project. He decided to go to the hardware store to grab what he needed. Once there, he ran into a man that approached him tentatively to ask him a question. As the two started to talk, Elder Bednar told him that he was the reason he came to the hardware store. The Lord had put him in his path. I firmly believe these kinds of things are true. God reaches out to us, lovingly, gently to remind us that he loves us individually.
The worth of souls is great in the sight of God
All through the book Elder Bednar writes the phrase from scripture: “The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” He does so when he gives reference to all the times Jesus reached out to bless the one through the scriptures. The references are touching and the examples palpable. He refers to it in the many stories he shares of people helping people and times when he felt prompted to reach out to the one.
I felt this just a couple of weeks ago on the day my middle son was set to go the Missionary Training Center to serve a 2-year-mission for the LDS Church. I was feeling all those heavy, but joy-laden mother feels as I woke up that morning. The other kicker to the experience is that I already have a daughter serving a mission – set to come home in a few months. When I checked my email after dropping my son off my eyes were immediately drawn to an email from her mission president with details of her release date – almost exactly three months from now! Just what my mother heart needed! The very day one was going, I got official word when the other one would be coming home. Not only a tender mercy, but a sign that God knew what my heart needed. He was reaching out to one of his children.
An example to me
I have seen people in my life have a natural and uncanny ability to do this. My son, who I just took the MTC is a prime example. When he was just in third grade I got a call from the school from his teacher. As the teacher talked, he started to get a bit choked up. “I just wanted to tell you about a special experience I witnessed today in the classroom,” he explained. He went on to say that he had passed out folders to the children in the class. As he passed them out, one little girl was quite troubled when she got her folder, but she was shy and didn’t dare say why. She started to cry. This troubled my tender-hearted son and he immediately went up to the teacher. “I think I know why she is upset. She wants this color folder,” he said as he handed his coveted green folder (who knows why everyone wanted the green folder). “I know it’s her favorite color,” he added. He allowed my son to walk over and give the tearful girl her folder, while he was left with a red, “girl-colored” folder. Her tears turned to a smile and they have been dear friends for the past 14 years because of it. It wasn’t a big thing, but he had taken the time to get know his classmate and meet her needs.
I watched this pattern with him all through school. In high school he would often show up late from school, or skip lunch because he recognized someone was having a bad day and needed a lift. He would take the time to walk with them, talk with them a be a true friend. The day before he left on his mission he reached out to a friend he felt needed him. I selfishly wanted him all to myself, but he invited this friend over and my son shared his faith this young man. I heard the young man say, “You were the difference for me in high school. You were the one that always reached out to me. I will always be grateful.” Wow. Your kids teach you things, right?
My son has added to my life story an example of how to seek the one.
David A. Bednar’s Tender Mercies
About 12 years ago Elder Bednar gave a now-legendary talk entitled, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord” and it touched me deeply at the time. He shared how when had been called to be a General Authority just six months earlier the song, “Redeemer of Israel” was the intermediate hymn just before he was set to bear his testimony. It just so happened it was his favorite hymn. He knew it had been picked months before his call even came. But for him, it was a tender mercy from the Lord. This always stuck with me and I have always searched for tender mercies like this every day. They come. I feel them all the time and my life is blessed for it. My life story is better because I look for them and feel them. Elder Bednar dedicates a whole chapter in his book to “tender mercies” and those he has seen since becoming a General Authority. For me, this chapter is worth the whole book. Reading those sweet interactions and feeling the love that comes from one on one interactions is priceless.
Kindness doesn’t go unnoticed
I always listen and read with great intent Elder Bednar’s talks and books because I feel like I was a “one” he reached out to as well. As a young newspaper reporter, I was asked to cover an meeting where the new guidelines about Ricks College changing to BYU Idaho would be discussed. I was nervous because I felt like it was a big meeting and didn’t know what to expect. I was late because I had been told the wrong time by my editor, so I missed the announcements of who would be speaking. As the succession of speakers got up and down I was extremely impressed by one man – he seemed younger the rest – and his delivery was crisp, clean and spiritual. I knew he was the man I needed to talk to and also wondered why he wasn’t just running the whole show! After the meeting I approached the man – his name: David A. Bednar. He was so kind to me, answering my questions, offering advice and took time to talk to me – one on one. He soon was named president of the new BYU Idaho and the rest is…history. I’m sure he doesn’t remember the interaction, but I do. Heaven knows I have had plenty of negative interactions with hurried people after meetings, but this was not one. He showed love to me.
Because of this experience, I believe and feel the sincerity of Elder Bednar’s words with great impact.
The book allows for some great self-inspection when at the end of each chapter there is space to write thoughts on the chapter and write scriptures that relate to those thoughts. A chance to write your story? I’ll take it!
I would encourage you to read this great book and think about how seeking the one can enhance your life and how being the one has done so as well. It will be a great chapter in your life story. You can get it on Amazon by clicking here, or through Deseret Book. Try their unlimited program free for a month by clicking here. This program allows you to download unlimited books and audiobooks for a month for less than the cost of one.
Rachel Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life.She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on LDSLiving.com and Mormon.org. She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.
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