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Good Works


Parable of the Bread

Parable of the Popcorn


Compassion is in the Eyes

"You Never Know Who You May Save"

A Little Too Kind

Doc Brackett


During the Second World War, a quaint little French village was bombed by mistake.  The villagers were forewarned by air-raid sirens and cleared out of the village before the bombing started.  Through the tears of sadness, they sat on a nearby hill all that night and watched flashes and fires as the bombs leveled their town.  They returned to their village and began digging in the rubble for anything salvageable. There wasn't much.  But, all the villagers joined together in the effort to rebuild their village from the bottom up.  As the rubble was cleared from the village square, several pieces of white marble were found, the remains of the stature that stood in the square.  The villagers called on the best sculptor to rebuild the old stature as a remembrance of the rebuilding of their village.  The sculptor worked for years on this great challenge.  Finally, as the remaining bit of paint was put on the last building in the quaint village and the streets were washed out for the last time, a veiled figure stood in the square.  The villagers held a great three day celebration to commemorate the rebuilding of their village.  As the last feature in the celebration, the villagers all met together at the town square for the unveiling of the stature.  Finally the veil was removed.  There in the square stood a figure of Christ exactly as in the visitors center in Salt Lake City, with his hands outstretched to all.  But this stature had no hands, because a bomb blast hit too close and pulverized them beyond repair.  So the inscription, instead of reading as it once had, "Come unto Jesus," now read "I have no hands but yours."

Parable of the Bread

Just a humble loaf of bread,
But 'twas once a bowl of paste,
Which, if I left in that condition
Would have surely gone to waste.

But, when kneaded, it was changed
Into something good to eat.
By some kind and loving hands
And an interval of heat.

We, like that loaf of bread,
Must be "needed" to become
What the Lord desires of us
Ere we return back home.

But we cannot "Need ourselves"
We must all serve one another
With kind and loving hands,
Just like our elder Brother,

So that when we are subjected
To that interval of heat,
We'll be like the loaf of bread;
Warm and smooth, and smelling sweet.

Parable of the Popcorn

Behold at the time of harvest, the ears of corn did bring forth kernels which were dried and prepared for the Popper's hand. And then it was that the Popper did take the kernels, all that did appear alike unto Him, and applied the oil and the heat.

And it came to pass that when the heat was on, some did explode with promise and did magnify themselves an hundred fold. And some did burst forth with whiteness which did both gladden the eye and satisfy the taste of the Popper. And likewise some did pop, but not too much. Behold, there were some that did
lie there, and even though the Popper's heat was alike unto all, some did just bask in the oil and keep everything that they had unto themselves.

And so it came to pass that those which had given of themselves did bring forth much joy and delight to many munchers. But those which kept of the warmth and did not bring forth were only cast into the pail and thought of with hardness and disgust.

And thus we see that in the beginning all appear alike, but when the heat is on, some come forth and give all, while others fail their purpose and become as chaff, so as to be discarded and forgotten.


As a man walked a desolate beach one cold, gray morning he began to see another figure, far in the distance. Slowly the two approached each other, and he could make out a local native who kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he hurled things into the ocean.

As the distance between them continued to narrow, the man could see that the native was picking up starfish that had been washed upon the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back into the water.

Puzzled, the man approached the native and asked what he was doing. "I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it's low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don't throw them back into the sea, they'll die up here from lack of oxygen."

"But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach," the man replied. "You can't possibly get to all of them. There are just too many. And this same thing is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can't you see that you can't possibly make a difference?"

The local native smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea he replied, "Made a difference to that one!"

Compassion is in the Eyes

It was a bitter cold evening in northern Virginia many years ago. The old man's beard was glazed by winter's frost while he waited for a ride across the river. The wait seemed endless. His body became numb and stiff from the frigid north wind. Anxiously, he watched as several horsemen rounded the bend. He let the first on pass by without an effort to get his attention. Then another passed by, and another. Finally the last rider neared the spot where the old man sat like a snow statue.

As this one drew near, the old man caught the rider's eye and said, "Sir, would you mind giving an old man a ride to the other side ? There doesn't appear to be a passageway by foot."
Reining his horse, the rider replied, "Sure thing. Hop aboard." Seeing the old man was unable to lift his half-frozen body from the ground, the horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse. The horseman took the old man not just across the river, but to his destination, which was a few miles away.

As they neared the tiny but cozy cottage, the horseman's curiosity caused him to inquire, "Sir, I noticed that you let several other riders pass by without making an effort to secure a ride. Then I came and you immediately asked me for a ride. I'm curious why, on such a bitter winter's night, you would wait and ask the last rider. What if I had refused and left you there?" The old man lowered himself slowly down from the horse, looked the rider straight in the eyes, and replied, "I've been around these parts for some time. I reckon I know people pretty good. I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless to even ask them for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were evident. I knew, then and there, your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunity to give some assistance in my time of need."

Those heartwarming comments touched the horseman deeply. "I'm most grateful for what you have said," he told the old man. "May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion." With that, Thomas Jefferson turned his horse around and made his way back to the White House.

"You Never Know Who You May Save"
Elder Jacob de Jager, General Conference, October 1976

I would like to go back in thought to my native Holland where six generations of my father's ancestors lived in the little village of Scheveningen at the seashore. They were fishermen or had other related vocations, like fishingboat builders, sailmakers, or fishing-net repairmen. Many of them were also involved in the voluntary but hazardous task of lifesaving. They were stouthearted, experienced men who always were ready to man the rowing lifeboats to go on a rescue mission. with every westerly gale that blew, some fishing boats ran into difficulties, and many times the sailors had to cling to the rigging of their stricken ships in a desperate fight to escape inevitable drowning. Year after year, the sea claimed its victims.

On one occasion during a severe storm, a ship was in distress, and a rowboat went out to rescue the crew of the fishing boat. The waves were enormous, and each of the men at the oars had to give all his strength and energy to reach the unfortunate sailors in the grim darkness of the night and the heavy rainstorm.

The trip to the wrecked ship was successful, but the rowboat was too small to take the whole crew in one rescue operation. One man had to stay behind on board because there simply was no room for him; the risk that the rescue boat would capsize was too great. When the rescuers made it back to the beach, hundreds of people were waiting for them with torches to guide them in the dreary night. But the same crew could not make the second trip because they were exhausted from their fight with the storm winds, the waves, and the sweeping rains.

So the local captain of the coast guard asked for volunteers to make a second trip. Among those who stepped forward without hesitation was a nineteen-year- old youth by the name of Hans. With his mother he had come to the beach in his oilskin clothes to watch the rescue operation.

When Hans stepped forward his mother panicked and said, "Hans, please don't go. Your father died at sea when you were four years old and your older brother Pete has been reported missing at sea for more than three months now. You are the only son left to me!" But Hans said, "Mom, I feel I have to do it. It is my duty." And the mother wept and restlessly started pacing the beach when Hans boarded the rowing boat, took the oars, and disappeared into the night.

After a struggle with the high-going seas that lasted for more than an hour (and to Hans's mother it seemed an eternity), the rowboat came into sight again. When the rescuers had approached the beach close enough so that the captain of the coast guard could reach them by shouting, he cupped his hands around his mouth and called vigorously against the storm, "Did you save him?"

And then the people lighting the sea with their torches saw Hans rise from his rowing bench, and he shouted with all his might, "Yes! And tell Mother it is my brother Pete!"

My dear brothers and sisters, many of us have or will soon have nineteen-year- old sons. Their names may be George or Juan Pedro, Guillaume or Heinrich, Paavo or Sing Tong, depending on the country they live in, but let Hans be their example. Let them join the rescue team of missionary workers. You never know whom they will save! It may be the one that on life's billows is tempest tossed or it may even be the one that had been reported missing at life's sea. And when someone is saved through their rescue mission, oh how great shall be their joy with him or her in the kingdom of our Father.

A Little Too Kind

I have wept in the night for the shortness of sight
that to somebody's need made me blind; But I never
have yet felt a tinge of regret for being a little too kind.

Doc Brackett
author unknown

Doc Brackett was a fine man. He doctored in our town for many years. He doctored more people than any other doctor in our town but made less money. That was because Doc Brackett was always doctoring poor people, who had no money to pay.

He would get up in the middle of the coldest night and ride twenty miles to doctor a sick woman or child or to patch up some fellow who got hurt. Everybody in our town knew Doc Brackett's office was over Rice's clothing store. It was up a narrow flight of stairs. His office was always filled with people. A sign at the foot of the stairs said: "DR. BRACKETT, OFFICE UPSTAIRS"

Doc Brackett was a bachelor. He was once supposed to marry Miss Elvira Cromwell, the daughter of old Julius Cromwell, the banker. But, on the day the wedding was supposed to take place Doc Brackett got a call to go out into the country and doctor a Mexican child.

Miss Elvira got sore at him and called off the wedding. She said that a man who would think more of a Mexican child than of his wedding was no good. Many women in our town agreed with Miss Elvira Cromwell, but the parents of the Mexican child were very grateful to Doc Brackett when the child recovered.

For forty years the lame and the halt and the blind of our town had climbed up and down the stairs to Doc Brackett's office. He never turned away anybody. He lived to be seventy years old and then one day he just keeled over on the sofa and died. By this time his black hair had turned white. Doc Brackett had one of the biggest funerals ever seen in our town. Everybody went to pay their last respects when he was laid out in Grubers undertaking parlor. He was buried in Riverview Cemetery.

There was talk of raising money to put a nice tombstone on Doc Brackett's grave as a memorial. The talk got as far as arguing about what should be carved on the stone about him. Some thought poetry would be very nice. Doc Brackett hated poetry. The matter dragged along and nothing whatever was done.

Then, one day George Gruber, the undertaker, said that Doc Brackett's memorial was already over his grave, with epitaph and all. George Gruber said the parents of the Mexican child that Doc Brackett had saved years ago had worried about him having no tombstone. They had no money themselves, so they took the sign from the foot of the stairs at Doc Brackett's office and stuck it over his grave. It read: "DR. BRACKETT, OFFICE UPSTAIRS."

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