Principle 1: Oliver Granger was promised he would have his name held in “sacred remembrance.”
There is a message for Latter-day Saints in a seldom quoted revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1838. “I remember my servant Oliver Granger; behold, verily I say unto him that his name shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord” (D&C 117:12).
Principle 2: Oliver Granger was an ordinary man who didn’t accomplish anything great by worldly standards.
Oliver Granger was a very ordinary man. He was mostly blind having “lost his sight by cold and exposure” (History of the Church, 4:408). The First Presidency described him as “a man of the most strict integrity and moral virtue; and in fine, to be a man of God” (History of the Church, 3:350).
When the Saints were driven from Kirtland, Ohio, in a scene that would be repeated in Independence, Far West, and in Nauvoo, Oliver was left behind to sell their properties for what little he could. There was not much chance that he could succeed. And, really, he did not succeed!
Principle 3: The Lord cares more about the sacrifices we make than our increase.
But the Lord said, “Let him contend earnestly for the redemption of the First Presidency of my Church, saith the Lord; and when he falls he shall rise again, for his sacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase, saith the Lord” (D&C 117:13).
What did Oliver Granger do that his name should be held in sacred remembrance? Nothing much, really. It was not so much what he did as what he was…..We cannot always expect to succeed, but we should try the best we can. “For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts” (D&C 137:9).
The Lord said to the Church:
“When I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings. …
“… This I make an example unto you, for your consolation concerning all those who have been commanded to do a work and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression, saith the Lord your God” (D&C 124:49, 53; see also Mosiah 4:27).
Principle 4: The Lord is not pleased when we worry that our sacrifices to Him are not good enough.
Some worry endlessly over missions that were missed, or marriages that did not turn out, or babies that did not arrive, or children that seem lost, or dreams unfulfilled, or because age limits what they can do. I do not think it pleases the Lord when we worry because we think we never do enough or that what we do is never good enough.
Principle 5: “Failure” is inevitable but so is being lifted up when we fall by God.
The Lord did not say of Oliver, “[If] he falls,” but “When he falls he shall rise again” (D&C 117:13; emphasis added).
Principle 6: The Lord doesn’t need us to accomplish His work so our sacrifices are what is really important.
In 2 Nephi 27:21 we read: “Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.”
Principle 7: We cannot do anything without God and are all “unprofitable servants.”
King Benjamin taught: ” I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.” (Mosiah 2: 21)
Jesus also taught: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)