Learn more about the world that God created by taking time to appreciate and have reverence for the wonders of nature, admonished Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve Sunday morning.
Elder Ballard told how he had given his wife, Barbara, a dozen roses for Valentine's Day."As the days passed, the family watched the blossoms unfold from buds to full flower," he related. "As I watched this miracle, I became curious about roses."
A botanist friend explained that the green leaves of the rose use sunlight to take carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with oxygen, "which we breathe," Elder Ballard said. "When other chemicals within the plant react with sunlight, it produces starch that becomes food. As you know, this process is called photosynthesis and without it, the earth's atmosphere would soon be devoid of oxygen and most living things would disappear."
As he pondered the power of God in creating such marvels for His children, Elder Ballard remembered the words of the hymn, "How Great Thou Art."
"I felt a deep reverence for both the creation and the Creator," he said.
"Reverence," he said, "may be defined as a profound respect mingled with love and awe. . . . The root word, revere, also implies an element of fear. Thus, reverence might be understood to mean an attitude of profound respect and love with a desire to honor and show gratitude with fear of breaking faith or offending."
Quoting from Moses 6:63 and then from Alma 30:43-44, Elder Ballard said the heavens and the earth and all things in them are evidences of the handiwork of God, their Creator.
"We sometimes feel great respect and reverence for creative genius as expressed in great art or music," he said. "How much more should we revere the power and majesty of our Divine Creator?
"Those who feel no reverence for the creations and the divine attributes of God, likely will have little appreciation for other sacred things. Such a lack of veneration for God's creations may diminish until a person becomes totally insensitive to the feelings of others."
The congregation laughed as he told of a young man who threatened his new computer with destruction because he couldn't get it to work. However, after using the instruction manual with guidelines from the computer's creator, he was soon able to enjoy it.
"Likewise in our lives, He who knows most about us, our potential, and our eternal possibilities has given us divine counsel and commandments in His instruction manuals, the holy scriptures," Elder Ballard said. "When we understand and follow these instructions our lives have purpose and meaning."
People will reverence God even more as they look at the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Elder Ballard's voice broke with emotion as he concluded by reading the third verse of "How Great Thou Art," which refers to God sending His Son to take upon Him the sins of the world.