President Thomas S. Monson tells of an experience he had while serving as a bishop years ago. A widow in the ward who passed away left behind three canaries. Two of the canaries were perfectly yellow, but the third had a little gray on his wings. This widow wrote President Monson a note telling him to keep this canary because, though he wasn’t the prettiest, “his song is the best.”
Yellow Canaries with Gray on Their Wings
“The world is filled with yellow canaries with gray on their wings,” President Monson says. “The pity is that so precious few have learned to sing. Some are young people who don’t know who they are, what they can be or even want to be; all they want is to be somebody. Others are stooped with age, burdened with care, or filled with doubt—living lives far below the level of their capabilities. To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility.”
We Are Sons and Daughters of God
President Monson says we can achieve these goals by understanding who we really are: “We are sons and daughters of a living God, in whose image we have been created. Think of that: created in the image of God. We cannot sincerely hold this conviction without experiencing a profound new sense of strength and power.
“When we remember that each of us is literally a spirit son or daughter of God, we will not find it difficult to approach our Heavenly Father in prayer,” President Monson says. “He appreciates the value of this raw material which we call life.”
The worth of a soul, President Monson says, lies in “its capacity to become as God.”
Sugar Beets and the Worth of a Soul
This knowledge of our divine potential should also drive us to serve God’s children around us, President Monson teaches. He tells the parable of a farmer who was driving a large open-bed truck filled with sugar beets. As he drove along the road, some of the beets fell out along the roadside. When the farmer realized some of the beets had been lost, he insisted on going back to get them, because, he said, they had just as much sugar as the rest of the beets. President Monson compares these beets that have fallen from the truck to those members of the Church who have fallen from activity. To our Father in Heaven, they have just as much value as the rest of His children, and He wants us to go back and rescue them.
President Monson says: “The Lord emphasized the worth of each man or woman, youth or child when He declared:
“‘The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. …
“‘And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
“‘And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!’ (D&C 18:10, 15–16).”