Music and the Spoken Word

Excel in Human Kindness - Sunday, September 29, 2019

We all have gifts and talents that can make a positive difference in the world. Everyone excels at something, though it’s easier to notice excellence in others than in ourselves. But there’s one thing we can all be good at: kindness. When the world spreads ugliness, we can spread a little beauty. In the face of anger and hatred, we can offer gentleness and love.

It was once said of a man who became a great spiritual leader: “He lacked the prowess to be an athlete, … he was too homely to win popular favor, and … his weak eyes prevented him from becoming a scholar, but he could excel in human kindness. So, he made kindness his specialty.”1 He had written a personal creed for himself, and it included these words: “I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor. … I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.”2 That humble man was George Albert Smith, who became President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seven decades ago.

There are many stories about George Albert Smith that illustrate his excellence in kindness; here’s just one:

On a hot summer day, some workers were repairing the street outside President Smith’s home. As the work got harder and the sun got hotter, the workers became increasingly vulgar and offensive in their language. Soon one of the neighbors approached and scolded them, but of course that didn’t help—it only inspired a longer, louder string of obscenities.

Meanwhile, President Smith was in his kitchen. In a few minutes he emerged with a pitcher of lemonade and some glasses on a tray. He said to the workers, “You look so hot and tired. Why don’t you come and sit under my trees here and have a cool drink?” The workers gratefully accepted his offer. Later, when they returned to their work, they did so respectfully and quietly.3

What he offered was simple, timeless, and powerful. When all is said and done, the greatest thing we can do is excel in human kindness.

1 Merlo J. Pusey, Builders of the Kingdom (1981), 301.
2 Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith (2011), 1.
3 Teachings: George Albert Smith, 223.
Sept. 29, 2019
Broadcast Number 4,698

The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg

Guest Artist
Nancy Peery Marriott

Richard Elliott

Lloyd Newell

Let There Be Light!
Gilbert M. Martin

There Is Sunshine in My Soul
John R. Sweney; arr. Mack Wilberg

How Excellent Thy Name, from Saul
George Frideric Handel

Norwegian Rustic March, from Lyric Pieces, op. 54
Edvard Greig; arr. Richard Elliott

Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz
Harold Arlen; arr. Michael Davis

Let There Be Peace on Earth
Sy Miller & Jill Jackson; arr. Richard Elliott

Redeemer of Israel
Freeman Lewis; arr. Mack Wilberg