- Father, Where Shall I Work Today?
- Father, where shall I work today?
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then He pointed out a tiny spot
And said, “Tend that for me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh no; not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done;
Not that little place for me.”
And the word He spoke, it was not stern;
He answered me tenderly:
“Ah, little one, search that heart of thine.
Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee.”
Here's another poem that President Faust used, this time in his talk, “I Believe I Can, I Knew I Could,” in the Oct 1992 General Conference. This talk is notable in that it's structured around the story of The Little Engine that Could. As for the poem, I think it's about as subtle as the storybook the talk is based on. At the same time, there are times when elegance and subtlety aren't necessarily the virtues you're going for. I've noticed that Conference talks are often quite blunt, which helps avoid misunderstandings I suppose.
To end on a positive note, Here's what President Faust had to say about The Little Engine that Could:
- I first heard the wonderful story of The Little Engine That Could when I was about 10 years old. As a child, I was interested in the story because the train cars were filled with toy animals, toy clowns, jackknives, puzzles, and books as well as delicious things to eat. However, the engine that was pulling the train over the mountain broke down. The story relates that a big passenger engine came by and was asked to pull the cars over the mountain, but he wouldn’t condescend to pull the little train. Another engine came by, but he wouldn’t stoop to help the little train over the mountain because he was a freight engine. An old engine came by, but he would not help because, he said, “I am so tired. … I can not. I can not. I can not.”
Then a little blue engine came down the track, and she was asked to pull the cars over the mountain to the children on the other side. The little engine responded, “I’m not very big. … They use me only for switching in the yard. I have never been over the mountain.” But she was concerned about disappointing the children on the other side of the mountain if they didn’t get all of the goodies in the cars. So she said, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” And she hooked herself to the little train. “Puff, puff, chug, chug, went the Little Blue Engine. ‘I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—I think I can.’ ” With this attitude, the little engine reached the top of the mountain and went down the other side, saying, “I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could.”
I hope we will not be like the big passenger engine, too proud to accept the assignments we are given. I pray that we will not be like the person in the well-known poem who said: (quote above poem here)
I also hope that we will not be like the freight engine, unwilling to go the “extra mile” in service. The Master taught us that “whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” Some of the most rewarding times of our lives are those “extra mile” hours given in service when the body says it wants to relax, but our better self emerges and says, “Here am I; send me.”
Or, like the old engine, do we say we are too tired—or too old? I remind you that President Hinckley is 92 and still going strong!
I hope we can all be like the “Little Engine That Could.” It wasn’t very big, had only been used for switching cars, and had never been over a mountain, but it was willing. That little engine hooked on to the stranded train, chugged up to the top of the mountain, and puffed down the mountain, saying, “I thought I could.” Each of us must climb mountains that we have never climbed before.