Issuing a challenge to fulfill responsibilities diligently, President Gordon B. Hinckley urged Church members Sunday morning to retain a "grand vision" of the work to which they are contributing.
"While you are performing the part to which you have been called," said President Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, "never lose sight of the whole majestic and wonderful picture of the purpose of this, the dispensation of the fullness of times. Weave beautifully your small thread in the grand tapestry, the pattern for which was laid out for us by the God of heaven."President Hinckley spoke of Brigham Young and the pioneers as examples to emulate, describing how they looked beyond the difficulties encountered in the largely barren Salt Lake Valley and retained their vision of a temple.
"How foolish, someone might have said, had he heard these men that July morning of 1847," he said. "But they were possessed of a vision drawn from the scriptures and words of revelation."
The Church leader said that he marveled at the foresight of those men who "spoke out of a prophetic view of the marvelous destiny of this cause. "
Today, however, Church members sometimes lose sight of the "grand picture," he affirmed. He spoke of his childhood experiences with draft horses, comparing the blinders they wore to self-imposed restrictions.
"Some of us do our work as if we had blinders on our eyes," he observed. "We only see our own little narrow track. We catch nothing of the broader vision. Ours may be a small responsibility in the Church. . . [but] it is also good to know how that responsibility contributes to the great overall program of the growing kingdom of God."
President Hinckley cited a statement by an unknown writer, once quoted by President Harold B. Lee: "Survey large fields and cultivate small ones." He said he interpreted that to mean that members ought to recognize the all-encompassing significance of the Lord's program, and then work diligently to fulfill responsibilities for their assigned part of that program.
"Our individual contribution may be small, but it is not unimportant," he added.
President Hinckley referred to the many capacities in which members can serve the Church diligently, and said that from all of these callings there emerges a remarkable pattern.
"If each of us does not do well that which is his or hers to do, then there is a flaw in the entire pattern. The whole tapestry is injured," he said. "But if each of us does well his or her part, then there is strength and beauty."
The first counselor spoke of the cause in which members are engaged as "not an ordinary cause. . . . It is the building of Zion in the earth, the fulfillment of prophecy given of old and of a vision revealed in this dispensation."
President Hinckley again spoke of the early pioneers, relating that Brigham Young and his counselors quickly planned a program to spread the gospel, placing that priority ahead of comfort or security. In a special conference in August 1852, he said, 98 men were asked to serve foreign missions for a length of three to seven years, leaving their families behind.
"This was all part of this grand vision of an ensign to the nations," he observed. "It has gone on ever since and it goes on today at an accelerated pace. In a hundred nations missionaries of the Church are teaching the doctrines of salvation."
President Hinckley spoke of the work being performed on Temple Square, where millions of visitors came last year. He read some of their comments, noting that, "The great work that is being done here is all a part of the fabric of this tremendous cause we describe as the Kingdom of God in the earth.
"My co-workers in this great cause and kingdom," he declared, "you and I are weaving the grand design of [a] standard to the nations. It waves to all the world. It says to men and women everywhere: `Come, and walk with us and learn of the ways of the Lord. . . .' "
This responsibility is a great and compelling one, he said. "Hold high the standard under which we walk. Be diligent, be true, be virtuous, be faithful that there may be no flaw in that banner.
"Our forebears ever kept before them the grandeur of the great cause in which they were engaged," he concluded. "It is a work which we must do with the same vision they held. It is a work which will go on after we have left this scene. God help us to do our very best as servants, called under His divine will, to carry forward and build the kingdom with imperfect hands, united together to execute a perfect pattern."