“Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice: The Little Engine That Could,” Liahona, Oct. 2003, 2–3
President James E. Faust uses a well-loved children’s story to teach us how willingly we should serve the Lord.
I first heard the wonderful story of “The Little Engine That Could” when I was about 10 years old. As a child, I was interested in the story because the train cars were filled with toy animals, toy clowns, jackknives, puzzles, and books as well as delicious things to eat. However, the engine that was pulling the train over the mountain broke down. The story relates that a big passenger engine came by and was asked to pull the cars over the mountain, but he wouldn’t [lower himself] to pull the little train. Another engine came by, but he wouldn’t stoop to help the little train over the mountain because he was a freight engine. An old engine came by, but he would not help because, he said, “I am so tired. … I can not. I can not. I can not.”
Then a little blue engine came down the track, and she was asked to pull the cars over the mountain to the children on the other side. The little engine responded, “I’m not very big. … They use me only for switching in the yard. I have never been over the mountain.” But she was concerned about disappointing the children on the other side of the mountain if they didn’t get all of the goodies in the cars. So she said, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” And she hooked herself to the little train. “Puff, puff, chug, chug, went the Little Blue Engine. ‘I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—I think I can.’” With this attitude, the little engine reached the top of the mountain and went down the other side, saying, “I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could.”1
At times all of us are called upon to stretch ourselves and do more than we think we can. Like the “Little Engine That Could,” we need to be on the right track and develop our talents. To stay on the right track, we must honor and sustain [our priesthood leaders].
I hope we will not be like the big passenger engine, too proud to accept the assignments we are given. I also hope that we will not be like the freight engine, unwilling to go the “extra mile” in service.
I hope we can all be like the “Little Engine That Could.” It wasn’t very big, had only been used for switching cars, and had never been over a mountain, but it was willing. That little engine hooked on to the stranded train, chugged up to the top of the mountain, and puffed down the mountain, saying, “I thought I could.” Each of us must climb mountains that we have never climbed before.
Illustration by Mark Thompson