The Art of Saying Yes - Sunday, October 20, 2019
The number of good causes in the world, the diversity of needs to meet, far exceed our abilities to give, even for the most generous among us. And there’s wisdom in the warning against taking on too many obligations. We can’t say yes to everyone in need.
On the other hand, we should also be careful not to make a habit of saying no. Most of the good in this world is done by people who make sacrifices. If we guard too carefully our time and energy, we miss the sweet experiences that are found only in service to others.
One woman was waiting in the hospital for her young daughter to have major surgery, and her anxiety was almost overwhelming. Only when she began reaching out to other families to comfort them did she find comfort of her own.
Studies have shown that helpfulness and altruism actually reduce stress and even help us live longer. By giving a bit of our time, we actually come out ahead: we connect with others, we see our own problems in greater perspective, and we feel better about ourselves.1
And yet, if you ask generous people why they serve so selflessly, they typically don’t explain that they want to live longer or improve their quality of life. They don’t view service as if it were a financial investment, only giving if the long-term dividends outweigh the costs. Rather, they give because it’s the right thing to do.
Sometimes we hesitate because we doubt how much good we can really accomplish. But as Neal A. Maxwell said, “God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability!”2
We can begin with something as small as offering our seat to an elderly person, letting someone go ahead of us in line, or thanking someone for the work they do. Yes, there is a cost in time and energy, but isn’t this why we were given time and energy in the first place—not to hoard it but to share it? As one generous person once said, “It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”3
1 See Mental Health Foundation, “Doing Good Does You Good,” mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/doing-good-does-you-good.
2 “It’s Service, Not Status, That Counts,” Ensign, July 1975, 7.
3 The Wisdom of Ethel Percy Andrus, comp. Dorothy Crippen (1968), 117.
Oct. 20, 2019
Broadcast Number 4,701
The Tabernacle Choir and
Orchestra at Temple Square
Unfold, Ye Portals, from The Redemption
The Ground, from Sunrise Mass
Praise the Lord with Drums and Cymbals
When You Wish upon a Star, from Pinocchio
Leigh Harline; arr. Michael Davis
Have I Done Any Good?
Will L. Thompson; arr. David A. Zabriskie
When the Saints Go Marching In
Spiritual; arr. John Rutter