“The actions whereby we demonstrate that we truly do love God and our neighbor as ourselves will rarely be such as to attract the gaze and admiration of the world,” President Thomas S. Monson has said. “Usually our love will be shown in our day-to-day associations with one other.”
President Monson’s acts of humble service and his charity and kindness through personal sacrifice have come to characterize his life and ministry. That example of service is reinforced in the March 2012 Liahona and Ensign magazines, which feature an article about President Monson. The article, “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today? Life Experiences of President Thomas S. Monson,” was written by Heidi S. Swinton, who also wrote President Monson’s official biography, To the Rescue.
The article summarizes how President Monson’s service, his positive outlook, and his lifelong striving to be more like the Savior have influenced those he has served as well as those who listen to and read his words of encouragement and inspiration. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles describes President Monson as “more Christlike than the rest of us.”
The Worth of Every Soul
As a child of the Great Depression, President Monson grew up in a household where grateful hearts and compassion for others was commonplace. Even in such dire financial circumstances, Sister Swinton writes, he developed a deep love for all people, and he continues to express that love by serving Heavenly Father’s children.
She says President Monson sees the profound worth of each individual, noting that he urged all people to reach out to one another when he said, “The prayers of people are almost always answered by the actions of others.”
“Reach out to rescue the aged, the widowed, the sick, the handicapped, the less active,” she quotes from President Monson. “Extend to them the hand that helps and the heart that knows compassion.”
A Formula for Happiness
“Let us ask ourselves these questions,” President Monson has said. “Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? What a formula for happiness! What a prescription for contentment, for inner peace. … There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.”
Despite his extensive responsibilities, Sister Swinton says President Monson has repeatedly found opportunities to clothe the destitute; visit the sick, widowed, and elderly; comfort the weary; or give a priesthood blessing to a friend in need.
She quotes Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as saying, “The Lord had to make Thomas Monson big because of the size of his heart.”