“What is true greatness? What is it that makes a person great?”
We discussed this question as a quorum, and the thought that impacted me the most was that greatness is independent of outcome and inseparably connected to our will. Several scriptures came to my mind on this topic. When the early church saints were unable to complete the building of the Temple in Jackson County, Missouri due to persecution, the Lord responded:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.” (D&C 124:49)
I learn from that that the Lord is more interested in our willingness and obedience than the end result of our choices. In a couple other verses, the Lord again stresses the importance of where the desires of our heart are rather than our accomplishments:
For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. (D&C 137:9)
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
In the end, the Lord sees greatness in the heart, independent of any public accolades or humiliations. I don’t know the hearts of people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, or Joseph Smith, but I imagine they demonstrated true greatness — not because of the far-reaching impact of their sacrifices, but because of their pure hearts.
Without downplaying what these men did, I believe there are probably others who would have made similar sacrifices under similar circumstances, whose hearts show similar greatness. And even though those individuals didn’t do the great tasks, Heavenly Father looks on the heart and knows they would have been willing. In Heavenly Father’s perspective, I imagine the one would not be valued any higher than the other.
In the end, “the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34), and that is what greatness is :)
And here are some of my week’s adventures… All-you-can-eat sushi with my friend Cait on Tuesday.
YSA chapel session in the Salt Lake Temple on Thursday.
Kung Fu Panda 3 with Paul on Friday. I loved Shifu’s advice to Po: “If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be better than what you are.”
And yesterday, I went on a hike with McKay in Heber Valley.
And shopping for new clothes (a less-than-annual activity for me) with Emily in the afternoon. I had won an American Express gift card, and decided to use that :)