The Word: Focus on the small and simple things

Published 10:48 am Thursday, May 18, 2023

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“By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Book of Mormon, Alma 37:6).

A recent experience illustrates the importance of focusing on the small and simple things of the gospel. 

There is a room in our chapel that is separate from the system that heats and cools the rest of the building. A handheld remote control, usually left sitting on a table in the room, is used to adjust the temperature. 

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However, on a recent day when it became very warm, we were unable to cool the room because the remote control was missing from its place on the table. We searched high and low; under chairs and tables; in drawers and bookcases through the building. But it was nowhere to be found. 

Then one sweet eight-year-old girl looked on the wall in the room and pointed to the holder designed to store the remote and said: “There it is!” Sure enough, the remote control was in its designated place and the day was saved. 

Too often we overcomplicate our lives. Certainly difficult things happen to us and we face challenges. But rather than focusing on the small and simple things to solve our problems, we tend to seek for elaborate solutions. 

Small and simple things include prayer, fasting, and scripture study. 

Jesus taught His disciples: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). Before looking for a complex solution to life’s problems, did we consider praying with faith that God is listening? 

Fasting, or going without food or water for a specified period, is a form of self-control and self-denial that is not often seen in today’s indulgent world. Fasting brings spiritual power. In ministering to a man with many challenges, the Savior testified: “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (see Matthew 17:14-21).

Scripture study is also a key to simplifying our lives and preparing to hear the voice of God. Jesus said: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

When Jesus was challenged by the lawyer regarding the greatest commandment, He responded by focusing on simple principles.

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:34-40).

M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught about these two great commandments.

He stated: “Obedience to those two commandments provides a way to experience more peace and joy. When we love and serve the Lord and love and serve our neighbors, we will naturally feel more happiness that comes to us in no better way.”

May we each find true happiness and joy by focusing on the small and simple things of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Brent Roberts is the Branch President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at