Earlier this year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans to publish a new hymnbook and even asked members to participate in the process.
I’ve only been around a little over six decades and only remember two hymnals: the old brown one and the current green one.
One of my favorite hymns published in both — and I hope survives this next round — is “Have I done any good in the world today.”
While my personal favorite line “The world has no use for the drone” was substituted with the softer, more politically correct line “To God each good work will be known” in the brown-to-green transition, I still enjoy its upbeat tempo and message.
“Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?”
With the Christmas season upon us, we are reminded of the Savior’s birth and now is the ideal time to be cognoscente of those around us. We should all “wake up and do something more than dream of our mansions above.”
I chase around with a wonderful group of people who come from a wide range of religious, geographic, economic, and social backgrounds.
They all have one thing in common: They constantly look out for how they and their families can help those in need.
Here are some of the little things they did last Christmas season as they and their families reached out to others:
Contributed $1 for each free drink consumed at work to the Utah Food Bank.
Offered visits, food, and thoughtful cards, and pictures to a family in the neighborhood who lost their dad during the holiday season.
Joined efforts with other family members to provide for a brother who faced personal troubles with a memorable Christmas.
Watched young, fatherless children one evening a week to help provide relief for a grieving mom.
Supported a spouse who volunteers each week at a school. She corrects papers, monitors recess time, helps with parties, and chaperones field trips.
Participated in a secret flower delivery service for a friend and co-worker with terminal cancer. Friends also collected money at work and delivered flowers to her home weekly.
Prepared and served food to help a local Veteran of Foreign Wars post.
Consciously did “Five Nice Things” daily. These were simple acts of kindness like opening a door, picking up things they dropped, paying a compliment, shaking hands, and giving hugs.
Ran a race where money was donated to a charitable cause like United Way, Huntsman Cancer, Leukemia, AIDS, etc.
These charitable Christ-like acts brighten the lives of those around us and always bring joy to our own heart.
One of my friend’s families tackled a larger project that positively impacted the lives of dozens of junior high school kids.
Her husband teaches at a Salt Lake area junior high school and he overheard the cross-country coaches discuss how many team members could not afford competitive shoes.
She posted on Facebook that they were in need of used or gently used running shoes. Her front porch was soon bombarded with donated shoes from all directions.
They received so many pairs from thoughtful friends that they were able to make two separate donations to team members.
One of my friends told me, “Mostly, we just try to be more aware of how we treat others. Smiling more often and offering kind words or a compliment to anyone brightens their day.”
In upcoming weeks all of us should follow the scripturally teachings of Jesus that are emphasized in the hymn.
Remember that there are always “Opportunities right in our way” and hopefully we “Do not let them pass by, saying ‘Sometime I’ll try,’ but go and do something today.”
Charlie Roberts is a former LDS bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward.