I would like to tell you about a little bird that was lying on the parking lot pavement. During the night it had been blown from its nest by the high winds in the storm. Apparently hatched just a few days earlier, it had few feathers, but enough to identify it as just a common sparrow.
As it lay there awaiting whatever fate would come, a young woman walking to her car in the parking lot saw the little sparrow and picked it up. Feeling sympathy for the helpless little bird she took it home to care for it. She prepared a nest in a basket with soft tissues, which were changed often to keep a clean and comfortable bed for the little bird.
She fed it often each day, watching it gain strength, and within a few days it opened its eyes and could see for the first time. It saw the girl who fed it and the family who lived in the home. It heard and became accustomed to the sounds around it, and it was not afraid.
As the days passed, it was able to hop about, and it was taken from the basket and put into a clean birdcage.
It trusted the girl and the family, and when it wanted food, it would chirp and flutter its growing wings rapidly, and when the cage door was opened it would hop out onto the girl’s hand and sit there patiently while she fed it.
It would sit on her hand as she walked through the house and even when she went outside. To help it become accustomed to the outside world where it soon would have to live, she would take it out on the lawn where she and her sister would sit under the tree and visit while the bird would look and observe all around it.
It came time for the girl and her sister to go to girls’ camp, so the bird went with them and spent the week on Cedar Mountain with the girls. It was there that it tried to fly for the first time, flying from the girl’s hand to the low branches in a nearby tree.
It was glad to come back to the familiar hand and security of the girl’s love, and although it was learning to fly it did not leave. When the girls’ camp was over the bird came home with the girls and continued its flying lessons.
The girl, realizing the bird must soon join its own kind, took it out on the front lawn and encouraged it to fly away. It flew across the lawn to a small pine tree, where it perched and looked around. The girl left it there, assuming it would now join the other birds, and she returned into the home.
It wasn’t long before a chirping could be heard outside in front of the home, and when the girl went out to see what the bird was chirping about, it flew out of the tree and landed back on her hand, and she fed it.
For the first few nights the bird would come back to the house and want to come in with the family for the night. Soon, however, it began to stay out with newly found friends living in the trees close by the home. When the girl would go outside and whistle, it would respond and return and land on her hand, and my daughter, Trinilee, would feed it.
That little bird and my daughter taught me a great lesson in faith and trust. Although it was just a fraction of the size of its human friend and could be in great danger for its life amongst humans, it trusted her and had faith it would not be harmed and would be fed by her—and it responded to her beckoning call.
Have you ever wondered about our faith, brethren? Do we have that kind of trust and faith in the Lord? Do we respond to His beckoning call to serve and be fed at His hand?
We should strive to be in His presence and to respond to His call, yet many of us lack the faith and the trust to come unto the Lord when He calls. He is calling us today to be faithful and to trust Him, that He might feed us.
“And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moro. 7:33).
There is an urgent and important work to be done in all nations and amongst all people. There are many wonderful young men and women, senior sisters, and couples who have been called to serve and who have responded and are faithfully serving a mission for the Lord.
There is a great need for many more missionaries, including couples, as President Hinckley in his February 21, 1998, satellite broadcast said: “With concerted effort, with recognition of the duty that falls upon each of us as members of the Church, and with sincere prayer to the Lord for help, we could double the number” of convert baptisms.
“For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul” (D&C 4:4).
There is not a work of greater importance or of greater joy and reward that we could do at this time.
The Savior, speaking through the Prophet Joseph Smith, said to John Whitmer: “And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen” (D&C 15:6).
Brethren, I believe our Heavenly Father and I trust Him, and when He reveals to us, speaking through our living prophet today, that we need to do more, and more of us need to become involved in the work of bringing souls unto Christ, then we need to step forward and say, “Here am I; send me” (Isa. 6:8).
From a favorite hymn I quote:
Come, all ye sons of God who have received the priesthood;
Go spread the gospel wide and gather in his people.
(“Come, All Ye Sons of God,” Hymns, no. 322)
And after their baptism, we need to walk the path to exaltation with them, steadying them until they have a solid foundation and testimony to carry them on through time and into life eternal.
I truly love my Heavenly Father and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am grateful for the many blessings and opportunities They have given me. I pray with all my heart and soul that I can measure up to the plans They have for me, whatever those plans may be.
I pray we will all show an equal amount of faith and trust in the Lord that the little sparrow demonstrated in my daughter, and respond to the call of the Lord.
I pray that we will indeed all do it together in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.