“Do It. ‘Be Ye Doers of the Word’” New Era, Mar. 1985, 4
In James 1:22–25 we read:
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
“For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
“… but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
A little later James writes: “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. … faith without works is dead” (James 2:18, 20).
Let me tell you of a young man who really understood these scriptures. He lives in Seoul, Korea. One day, when this young man was 15, his father received a call from a close friend who asked him if he were having financial difficulty. Being in affluent circumstances, he indicated “No, everything is fine.” He then wanted to know why his friend would ask such a question.
The man replied that he had seen his son selling newspapers on a street corner in Seoul.
The father couldn’t believe it because his son received quite a liberal allowance and would have no need to work for additional money. When asked if there couldn’t have been a mistake, the friend said, “No, I stopped and talked with him on the corner.”
When the son returned from school that evening his father asked him about the incident. The son said, “Yes, I was selling newspapers.”
“Isn’t your allowance sufficient to take care of your needs?” the father wanted to know.
“Yes,” he said, “but we had a lesson in seminary on the Good Samaritan, and I wanted to experience what it meant to be a Good Samaritan, not just learn about it. So I have taken my allowance and bought newspapers and asked some of my friends to join with me in selling them. We want to raise enough money to help one of our classmates, who is very poor, remain in school. Without the help, he would have to drop out.”
In addition to this, sometime earlier, this young man had asked his mother to double his lunch. She had done so without questioning him, thinking that as a growing teenager he was just extra hungry. He told his father that this other student would have to go hungry each day if he did not share half of his lunch with him.
This is what the Lord means when he encourages us to be doers of the word and to show our faith by our works. There are many experiences that would take on greater meaning if we made these scriptures a part of our lives.
Let me share another example of what it means to be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. Several years ago, I attended a stake conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. This was the weekend of the Super Bowl. There was great excitement about what was anticipated as a great football weekend. In my remarks in the Saturday conference meetings, I told of some experiences young people had had in determining what it meant to keep the Sabbath day holy. Of course, the football game was to be played on Sunday afternoon.
After the Sunday morning session, one of the brethren handed me a regular donation envelope, indicating there was a note inside that would explain an experience he wanted to share. A little later I opened the envelope and read:
“I was going to take my son to the Super Bowl game today. He has been looking forward to this for quite some time. After your talk to the young people and to the older people, we want you to take our tickets and keep them. This is our thanks to you for sharing with us.”
I learned from the stake president that the boy and the father had made the decision not to attend the Sunday game spontaneously, together. Not only did they not use the tickets, which had cost them $30 each, but they did not sell them, which they could have done for as much as $300 each. This was not only being doers of the letter of the word but also keeping the spirit of the word. Those two tickets are permanently placed in my scrapbook as a reminder of a father and his son who together, yet independent of each other’s thinking, decided they were going to keep the Sabbath day holy.
The Lord has told us what it means to be a doer of the word and not a hearer only in the scripture of the wise man who built his house upon a rock.
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:24–27).
One of the greatest examples in our time of doing the word is President Spencer W. Kimball. He has gone so far as to have a motto printed, which now sits in his office. It simply says, “DO IT.” May we each be “doers of the word and not hearers only.”