All Can Give

“All Can Give,” Friend, Nov. 2008, 8–9

Friend to Friend

All Can Give

From an interview with Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the Seventy; by Jennifer Maddy, Church Magazines

Elder Stanley G. Ellis

When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God (Mosiah 2:17).

I grew up on a farm, and my father taught my brothers and me the importance of service and hard work. My dad was in the bishopric when I was a boy. If work needed to be done on the Church farm, or if someone needed help, he would get his boys together and we’d go help. One of my favorite Primary songs was “‘Give,’ Said the Little Stream.”* The line that I really like in that song says, “There is something all can give.”

There is something all can give. We can all help, and I think that is what the Lord expects of us. The Lord has freely given to us, and we need to freely give to others.

One year, my dad got sick with rheumatic fever and couldn’t work. It was at the critical time of year for planting the crops. In Idaho the growing season is short, so you have to plant your crops at the right time to be able to get a harvest before the winter sets in. It was a significant problem that my dad was sick.

I remember looking out the window and seeing tractors and equipment coming from all different directions. Our neighbors had come to help us. By the end of the day, they had prepared and planted all of our fields. I know that the Lord’s plan of helping each other and taking care of those in need is true, and I know it works.

My dad taught us to work hard. We worked hard all the time, and it became a habit. We even worked on holidays! One year between Christmas and New Year, we built a mile and a half of fence out on the ranch in the snow. But my dad taught us how to make work enjoyable. He taught us a little song that said, “Sing as you work, and work will be play.” So we sang all the time while we were working, and that way we learned the joy of working hard and seeing a job well done. I have found throughout my life that being able to work hard is very important in anything we do.

10 years old

Elder Ellis (right) with his brothers Steve and Jess

Illustration by Maren Scott