When Elder Gérald Caussé asked “How can we honor and love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ without honoring and loving their creations?” I audibly gasped. The idea that in order to love God, you need to love what they love is something I have always felt to be true. We see this constantly illustrated in the scriptures, but one of my favorite examples is in John 21:15-17. This is when Jesus asked Simon Peter three times if Simon loved him, and when Simon responded, “Yea Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” Jesus then said, “Feed my sheep.” To paraphrase, Jesus was telling his beloved apostle, “If you love me, take care of what I love.”
Elder Caussé defined stewardship as "the sacred spiritual or temporal responsibility to take care of something that belongs to God for which we are accountable,” and he reminds us in this talk that we are accountable for the earth and its inhabitants, including those in our generation and those in the generations to come. I have a bad habit of lying in bed all night thinking of all of the wrongs in the world that I want to fix but can’t: the giant island of plastic floating in the ocean, those suffering from wars being waged, children who are mistreated, people who go to bed hungry more often than not. I have lain in bed and thought about how there are so many things that I can’t fix and wondering how I can reconcile that with my sacred calling to be a steward. I have come to call what I came up with my “circle of influence.”
This was inspired by a woman I saw while walking. I witnessed her cleaning up garbage while taking her morning stroll. I can’t fix the island of garbage in the ocean, but I can clean up my own street. I can’t fix everything, but I can love and protect the people and places that I come across in my day-to-day life. As Elder Caussé says, “We can adopt personal lifestyles and behaviors that respect God’s creations and make our own living spaces tidier, more beautiful, and more inspirational.”
As you go through your day today, seek ways that you can show love for God’s creations within your own circle of influence.
I can be a steward as I look to better the lives and places of those in my circle of influence. Little efforts can create incredible results.