One of my favorite stories of Elder David A. Bednar was shared by LDS Church News on June 2016:
Elder David A. Bednar and local Church leaders were walking in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, in May when they were approached by a man.
“Are you from the Church?” he asked. The man told the group he was a Latter-day Saint, but that he had not been active for 25 years.
Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles looked at the man and said, “It is time to come back.”
That moment is one President Kevin B. Pack of the Madrid Spain Mission will never forget.
“Elder Bednar introduced himself to the man, expressed his love, and invited him now to come back — with his family,” President Pack said. “It was a moving experience to participate in this very tender moment and watch a special witness of the Savior’s name minister to one of His sheep.”
Recently, I've been reading Elder Bednar's newest book, One by One. In it, he testifies of the very principle he demonstrated that day in Spain: how the Savior and His servants love others, "one by one." In his book, Elder Bednar writes:
People frequently ask me to identify and share some of the important lessons I have learned during my years of service as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Because I am blessed to meet, serve with, and learn from faithful Church members all over the world, the lessons are many and wide-ranging. Over the years, however, the principle and spiritual pattern of one by one has blessed me and influenced my ministry in powerful ways.
"One by One" is a way of living that Elder Bednar and the apostles as special witnesses of Christ exemplify. In the Church News article from 2016, President Pack said, “It was not so much what [Elder Bednar] said, but what I observed him do that had an impact on me. Wherever he went, I noticed that he looked for opportunities to minister to ‘the one.' The one included a bishop leading a small congregation and feeling the weight of his calling, a missionary wanting to know he was in fact called of God, a less active member he met on the street of Las Palmas, a non-member of the Church wanting to know what he needed to do to believe . . . His visit was a living symbol to them of the Lord’s love for them, that He knows them, that He is aware of their situations, and that He is there for them if they will come unto Him."
How often as members of the Church do we become so caught up in the responsibilities of our calling that we forget to take time to see the individuals around us and think how we can lift and love them? Heavenly Father calls us each individually. He listens to our prayer individually. He loves us individually. And I think it's important for us to do to same with our brothers and sisters.
As Elder Bednar writes:
[I] bear solemn and sure witness that the Lord knows us one by one. He knows each of us. He knows our names. He knows our concerns. He knows our apprehensions. He knows our potential and possibilities.
Significantly, the first word spoken by God the Eternal Father to man in the first vision in this latter-day dispensation was “Joseph.” The Father and the Son knew Joseph Smith as a one. Any call to serve the Savior in any capacity is an invitation to learn about the principle of one by one, because that was the pattern of His service.
Lead image from Deseret News
In this book, Elder David A. Bednar offers a compelling look at a pattern the Lord uses to bless His people: He works with us on an individual basis, one by one. Demonstrating that pattern as it occurs throughout the scriptures, in the lives of many Church leaders, and in his own ministry, Elder Bednar invites us to open our hearts to the Lord's love. He also teaches that by ministering as the Savior does, one by one, we can be more powerful instruments in His hands to accomplish His purposes.
From a "guided tour" through scriptural illustration to an array of touching personal accounts, this important new book offers hope and guidance for anyone who has ever wondered, "Do I matter to the Lord?"