Skip to main content

Joseph Fielding Smith: The Hidden Greatness in Everyday Tasks

Summary

Joseph Fielding Smith’s message highlights the importance of everyday tasks and duties. President Roosevelt said that the most vital things in life are often seen as common-place, but these are the duties God gave us. True greatness and happiness come from doing these daily tasks well. Modern ambitions often distract us from these simple, essential duties. Instead of seeking extraordinary achievements, we should find joy in fulfilling our everyday responsibilities. President Smith reminds us to prioritize God’s kingdom and righteousness, trusting that everything else will follow.

Source

Editor’s Note

This talk is part of The Forgotten Talks series. As we search for the sources of the quotes we use in our newsletter and on our website, we often stumble across popular quotes that are difficult to locate the source of. When this is the case, we will spend the necessary time to uncover the source, if possible. We have discovered that many of these quotes are locked away in talks and books that haven’t been digitized or are behind a paywall. We make the effort to secure these pearls of great price and share them on our website under the public domain or Creative Commons license. If we are in any way violating any copyright laws, we ask that you notify us.

Notable Quotes

The vital things in life are things that foolish people look upon as common-place. (President Roosevelt)

Our literature, our art, and all the beauties of our civilization, are but the superstructure of simple and common-place things.

He is truly happy who can see and appreciate the beauty with which God has adorned the common-place things of life.

Those things which we call extraordinary, remarkable, or unusual may make history, but they do not make real life.


Common-Place Things

Joseph Fielding Smith

In a recent address by President Roosevelt to the students at Tuskagee in the South, he very beautifully and wisely said: “The vital things in life are things that foolish people look upon as common-place.” The vital things of life are those which God ordained as first among the duties of man. It is in the fulfilment of these common-place duties that we lay the foundation for that which is best and greatest in us. We may branch out and expand in those simple affairs of daily life, we may add to them, but we cannot get round them nor can we escape them without making our lives empty and unnatural.

The great failure of many of our modern ways—for some day we shall see how mistaken and vain our ambitions have been—is that we substitute man’s ways for God’s ways. Our literature, our art, and all the beauties of our civilization, are but the superstructure of simple and common-place things. They are made possible because they are a fitting climax to the daily routine, the education, labor, and toil of the family life. So that the big things we do are the result of small things well attended to. We were created to inhabit, beautify, and replenish the earth. The farther we get away from the earth—from the duty of toil and the minor details of daily care—the farther we are from the higher calling of life. Those things which we call extraordinary, remarkable, or unusual may make history, but they do not make real life.

After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman. One is universal and eternal greatness, the other is phenomenal. It is true that such secondary greatness may be added to that which we style common-place; but when such secondary greatness is not added to that which is fundamental, it is merely an empty honor, and fades away from the common and universal good in life, even though it may find a place in the desultory pages of history. Our first care after all brings us back to that beautiful admonition of our Savior: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

We should never be discouraged in those daily tasks which God has ordained to the common lot of man. Each day’s labor should be undertaken in a joyous spirit and with the thought and conviction that our happiness and eternal welfare depend upon doing well that which we ought to do, that which God has made it our duty to do. Many are unhappy because they imagine that they should be doing something unusual or something phenomenal. Some people would rather be the blossom of a tree and be admiringly seen than be an enduring part of the tree and live the common-place life of the tree’s existence. Let us not be trying to substitute an artificial life for the true one. He is truly happy who can see and appreciate the beauty with which God has adorned the common-place things of life.

Jos. F. Smith.



No Comments yet!

Your Email address will not be published.