“Your Life Has a Purpose,” New Era, May 1979, 4
Have you ever thought: “I’m not very important so what I say or do will never really be noticed? What can I offer that will make any difference? What can I do that will truly help others, cause their lives to be different, to be better? Do I actually have any worthwhile talents? Is there anything I can do to reach another in need? I’m not that special. If I don’t help, someone else will come along and do a better job than I can do.”
One of the greatest challenges is to overcome the feeling that we are unimportant, that we are not special and unique. Do you think for a moment that Heavenly Father would have sent one of His children to this earth by accident, without the possibility of a significant work to perform?
It is true we all have different traits, talents, personalities, and abilities. True, some seem to have more or at least different gifts than others. Some make higher grades or play basketball better. Some are taller, shorter, heavier, or lighter than others. Yes, we know some are even better looking—more beautiful or handsome. And so we find ourselves thinking or saying: “If I were only like John, or if I were only like Ann, then I could really do something fantastic, something others would notice. Then everyone would want to be like me. Wouldn’t that be great?”
Would you like to hear about some uncommon common members of the Church who have just done ordinary things that have made them great in small ways?
The missionary bearing his testimony was on crutches; he had injured his knee in a bicycle accident. He wanted to tell the other missionaries how much he loved his companion, to tell them how he had learned of a new dimension in love from this companion. Two or three weeks earlier he had been in an accident. The doctor had said he couldn’t ride his bike anymore and must stay off his leg. The mission president had decided to transfer him so his companion could keep on working. What good could he do when he couldn’t even ride a bicycle? His companion pleaded with the mission president not to break up the partnership yet. They were having success. He loved his incapacitated companion. They would find a way. “Please let us try!” he said. The mission president agreed to let them make the attempt.
Then the elder on crutches told us how they had solved their problem. He said his companion had connected their two bikes with a rope, and had pulled him all over the city for two weeks as they did their work. He said he had really learned what it was like for one man to love another.
Perhaps you have something to give that is as simple as love, or dedication, or hard work, or anything else that may be missing in someone’s life. Try it. Share it. You’ll never know what it may do for another.
In a western city a young man had been preparing for 18 years to go on a mission. He was excited, his parents were excited, his girlfriend was also, and he was ready.
One evening at the city swimming pool, he and some friends were diving from the highboard. The second he hit the water, he knew his approach angle had not been good. He was in trouble. His head pierced the water and struck the bottom of the pool with a sickening thud. He was immediately knocked unconscious. He was brought carefully to the poolside and then rushed to the hospital. After weeks of medical attention, he was finally told that he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life from his neck down. He couldn’t move a finger or a toe, an arm or a leg. He would now lie in bed forever. His body would become a useless thing, and unless something unusual happened, so would his spirit.
A wise bishop recognized the problem. After talking with the boy’s parents and the doctor, the bishop gave him an assignment. It was unbelievable, unreal, impossible! The assignment: would he please write a letter each month to every missionary and serviceman from their ward? Was the bishop just not thinking or was he inspired? How could the boy write with no hands or fingers to assist? Some had learned to use their toes in such an emergency, but he couldn’t move his. Having faith in their bishop, the boy and his parents started to work on the assignment. It took days, weeks, and months of effort and discouragement. In time, it began to happen.
By putting a pencil between his teeth and moving his head, he learned to make a mark, then a word, next a sentence, and finally a page. He wrote and wrote.
For over 20 years he has been writing beautiful letters. He has inspired thousands. The side benefit is that his own spirit, simply stated, is magnificent. Is it worth the effort to follow our leaders’ counsel no matter how hard or how difficult? He thinks so. So do I.
My dear friends, you are a royal generation. You were preserved to come to the earth in this time for a special purpose. Not just a few of you, but all of you. There are things for each of you to do that no one else can do as well as you. If you do not prepare to do them, they will not be done. Your mission is unique and distinctive for you. Please don’t make another have to take your place. He or she can’t do it as well as you can. If you will let Him, I testify that our Father in Heaven will walk with you through the journey of life and inspire you to know your special purpose here.