Mike Hunter of the Department Chair of Religion and Family History at the Harold B. Lee Library spoke to students and faculty on Tuesday about the importance of the small things.
He said students can be tempted to believe they do not need to make a difference in the world until after graduation. He said we can make a difference serving people around us right now, while going to school.
Hunter took the view shared by Mother Teresa.
“There are many people who can do big things, but there are few people willing to do the small things,” Hunter quoted.
Hunter said we should be engaged in good works and simple acts of kindness daily. He invited the audience to reach out to those in need like roommates, classmates or a professor who is having a difficult day.
Hunter taught about Mother Teresa’s diligent work to ease the suffering of those in physical and spiritual tribulations even though many did not believe her work was worth the effort.
Hunter explained a journalist’s viewpoint who stated Mother Teresa’s work was insignificant when compared to the great suffering of the population and the only help that would make a significant impact was the implementation of a grand, far-reaching government policy.
“Statistically speaking what she achieved was little or even negligible,” Hunter quoted, a statement to which Mother Teresa responded, “Welfare is for a purpose, an admirable and a necessary one, whereas Christian love is for a person.”
Hunter reminded us because of Mother Teresa’s actions, many souls found comfort and joy in this life.
“Small acts of kindness are never too small,” Hunter said. “Seek the one within our reach.”
Even though we may be tempted to believe our actions do not impact anyone, we should remember it is by small things that miracles and changes come to pass.
“It may be a drop of water in the ocean, but it makes a difference,” Hunter said.
Jesus Christ made time for family, friends and people around Him. He took time to teach the woman at the well, Mary and Martha; He took the time to bless the children. Christ always sought the one within His reach and never seemed to be too busy to serve.
Hunter said the big things, like work and money, matter so little and the small things, like helping others, matter so much more.
One day while at work, Hunter was busy trying to meet a deadline when he heard a knock on his door. It was a student asking if he had time to help him do research. The student could see Hunter was annoyed and busy and was leaving the office when Hunter received a prompting. He invited the student in and was able to help the struggling student with his research paper.
If it was not for Hunter’s willingness to follow the prompting, the student might have given up on his studies.
“Heavenly Father has small taks for us here at BYU, ” Hunter said.
As a young man, Hunter was a new convert to the church from Virginia and it was his first semester at BYU. He was excited to come to BYU and see how the church functioned in Utah. He was hoping to receive help adapting to the new culture from his roommate.
Hunter found out his roommate was from Saudi Arabi, did not speak English and was not LDS. Hunter said he realized his challenges seemed small and it was an opportunity for him to forget himself and serve his roommate who was a stranger to America.
“If the pressures of school are too much, lay the books aside for a few hours and visit someone old and lonely or someone sick and discouraged,” Hunter said, quoting President Gordon B. Hinckley.
He counseled us to always remember who we are and where we came from. If we do not forget these things we are more likely to recognize when someone is in need.
“We do not need to leave BYU to make a difference in the world,” Hunter said.
The content of this article has been edited to more accurately reflect the speakers message.