Last weekend we drove past Foothills Elementary.
Home to the Foothills Falcons, and to me, a handful of years ago.
I still remember the sixth-grade science fair.
My hypothesis focused on whether fingerprints are hereditary or not.
I borrowed a fingerprinting kit from my Grandpa.
He showed me how to gently roll a finger from side-to-side to get a good, clear fingerprint for my experiments.
I fingerprinted friends and family, classmates and teachers.
I made a poster of the different types of fingerprints and my findings.
I worked hard on the project.
And I learned something.
Fingerprints are totally unique.
No two people have the same ones.
Not even people from the same family.
Not even identical twins.
That’s why we can use them to identify people.
Each person is born with their very own.
I sat on the floor in front of my mirror to get ready this morning.
I had to squint through tiny fingerprints covering the bottom half of the mirror.
Just the right height for tiny Hank hands.
I can’t bring myself to wash them off.
I called Jake on the way home from work this week.
Sometimes I like when he doesn’t answer, because I get to hear his voicemail greeting.
2016 Jake said, “Hey this is Jake, leave me a message” and I smiled.
I’d know that voice anywhere.
I’ve been thinking about God’s hand and His voice lately.
I’ve been watching, listening.
When words come to mind when I don’t know what to say.
When I feel joy in the hard.
When somehow it all gets done.
I see His hand.
I hear His voice.
I look for Him and He’s there.
And I can’t wash them off, His fingerprints.
I’d know His voice anywhere.
“In our daily life it is our paramount task and blessed opportunity to encounter God” (Elder Uchtdorf “God Among Us”).
Maybe that’s why I’m so happy.
In D&C 111 the Lord tells us that His treasure has always been people.
Joseph Smith and the early church were in debt. Building the Kirtland temple and other endeavors put the early church members in a difficult financial spot.
This wouldn’t be the first time or the last that Joseph faced questions about money and making ends meet.
The Lord told Joseph He would help.
Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.
Concern not yourselves about Zion, for I will deal mercifully with her.
Joseph took a small group with him to Salem, Massachusetts to look for treasure. They had heard rumors of a hidden treasure, and they were willing to do anything to help the church’s financial state.
At first glance this section and their trip seem strange. Pointless even.
They don’t even find any treasure.
In Section 111 the Lord said,
I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality.
For there are more treasures than one for you in this city.
Joseph looked for money, though the Lord made it quite clear what treasure waited for them in Salem.
It took a long time. Erastus Snow, the missionary sent back to Salem, wanted to give up.
The promise of the Lord sustained him though.
He looked for treasure.
Over time, citizens of Salem were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and became contributing members of the church.
Through their sacrifice and sacred tithes, many helped to pay the debts of the church.
There was treasure there after all.
I love the Lord’s pattern.
When the church had a problem to be solved, He led them to people.
That’s His resource.
Gather more in.
They are the treasure.
A few years ago, when my birthday rolled around, Jake asked me what I wanted.
I requested a love note from him.
His counter offer was to write hundreds.
I have 191 notes from him so far.
I read them when I miss him.
I read them when I feel discouraged or alone.
I remember before he was mine, I felt like there was a lot missing in my life.
I felt like the early church- on the cusp of great things but figuratively “in debt”.
Looking for treasure.
I prayed for the things I lacked.
The attributes I didn’t have.
Guess how the Lord answered.
What treasure He sent.
He was everything I wasn’t and more.
The Lord promised He’d fill in my gaps.
I never imagined he’d do it like this.
Now Jake’s my treasure.
The best thing that has ever happened to me.
He makes me happy.
Hank loves when we sing to him.
Songs get us through wrestling match diaper changes and messy mealtimes.
Songs wake him up in the morning and put him to sleep at night.
His favorites are the ones with actions.
He remembers them best and loves them most.
He can “tease Mr. Alligator”, make the sun come out, and say “no no no!” to the monkeys or monsters jumping on the bed.
I love to watch his face as he listens.
I can see the light in his eyes when he recognizes the song.
I can see him realize he knows exactly what to do.
Then I watch his sweet little hands repeat the actions just in time.
He gets better at it every day.
And he never gets tired of the tiny songs or the little actions.
As he grows, I think he’ll find that life is full of tiny songs and little actions, the trick is not to get tired of them.
Alma taught a group of humble Zoramites about faith in Jesus Christ (Alma 32-33).
He picked a tiny seed to teach them.
A tiny seed that looks nothing like what it will become.
A tiny seed that would require little, repeated steps to care for it over time, until it finally bore fruit.
It’s the tiny songs. It’s the little actions.
Gideon taught me that too.
Gideon hid behind a winepress one day threshing wheat.
He was hiding from Israel’s current enemy, the Midianites.
The Lord called them grasshoppers because they consumed everything in sight, leaving the Israelites desolate and afraid.
The bondage was humbling and hard to bear.
In response to Israel’s prayers the Lord sent an angel to Gideon.
You know, the young man hiding behind the winepress.
“The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” the angel said to the crouching man (Judges 6:12).
Gideon was not so sure.
He did not feel mighty.
In fact, he felt hurt. He felt forgotten. He felt small.
He told the angel how he felt. He told him how he thought the Lord had forgotten them. How He must not care as much now as He did for them when they were in bondage to the Egyptians. “..why then is all this befallen us? And where be all his miracles..” Gideon asked.
The Lord responded.
“Thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?”
Not the man hiding behind the winepress.
“Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
The least. Tiny. The smallest.
The Lord’s reply?
“Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man” (Judges 6:16).
So, Gideon gathers an army. 32,000 people band together to help free the Children of Israel.
The Lord’s response?
That’s too many. Send those who are afraid home.
That’s 10,000 left.
The Lord’s response?
That’s too many.
He sends them to the river’s edge to get a drink. Those who drank water from their cupped hands were put in one group, and those that knelt and put their face in the water were put in another.
300 drank from their hands. 9,700 made up the other group.
Guess which army the Lord chose.
The least. Tiny. The smallest.
300 against the grasshopper Midianites? An army so vast they couldn't be numbered?
In the dead of night, Gideon and his 300 surrounded the Midianites.
And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.
And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.
When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon (Judges 7:16-18).
And so, they did it.
On Gideon’s signal they threw down their pitchers. The trumpets and the shouts of the 300 men woke the Midianites and caused so much confusion the grasshoppers fought each other.
When they finally realized what was happening the army of the Midianites retreated.
And so, the army of 300 with only trumpets, pitchers, and lanterns, freed the Children of Israel.
How did they do it?
Well, they didn’t.
It was by the sword of the Lord.
Why such a small army?
The Least. Tiny. The smallest.
So we will never forget who actually does the defending here.
It’s because we all hide behind the winepress.
And the Lord sends angels to remind us that He has “trodden the winepress alone” so we don’t have to (Isaiah 63:3).
And then the Lord takes even less than what we have to offer, and He makes it enough.
He makes it obvious that it’s Him.
So do the least, the tiny, the smallest.
Even if you are the least, the tiny, the smallest.
Remember the Lord fights for us.
He always has.
Maybe that is why I am so happy.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!