The old bishopric in our ward was released 2 Sundays ago and a new batch of bishopric-people were called to serve. Because the counselors who were released didn’t get a chance to speak on the day of the switchover, the new bishop asked them to say a few words this last Sunday (which was fast and testimony meeting, since General Conference takes place next Sunday) and gave them first shot at the podium before the rest of the ward.
Our now-retired first counselor, who, over the years, has become known as the resident ward chocolate cake baker, went to the podium first. He has baked untold numbers of chocolate cakes and brought them to ward functions to parcel them out for free during Gospel Doctrine lessons from time to time, or for just about any other excuse that comes to his mind. I don’t remember everything he said, but He said that the chocolate cake recipe that he uses was one passed down through the generations in his family. He said that he got to thinking one time about a hypothetical situation in which he would be given the chance to give a gift to the Savior, and he thought about it for a while and decided the best gift from him would be a piece of chocolate cake, because, he said, “It’s the absolute best thing I do.”
I mention this in response to a story I found at msnbc.com, about a woman who claims that baking apple pies saved her life. She had reached a point where she says she was suicidal, and baking apple pies put some meaning back into her life; it gave her a purpose.
The moment I knew pie was my savior was on Jan. 23, 2010, National Pie Day, when four of my closest friends helped me make 50 apple pies by hand and give them away by the slice on the streets of Los Angeles. “Why are you giving away free pie?” passersby wanted to know.
“Because we want to make the world a better place,” we replied.
To see strangers digging into the pies that my friends and I had made, to hear comments like “This makes me want to do something nice for someone else”— well, knowing that this pie was making other people happy in turn made me happy. That day was a turning point for me; it showed me that I still had a purpose in this life, that even at my lowest point I still possessed the ability to contribute something to society. Not only have I not stopped baking since; I now teach pie baking so that others may experience that same super power I found through the simple act of sharing.
Find out what it is that you do best, and make the world a better place by doing it. For some, it involves making apple pies, or baking chocolate cake. The gifts of God are many and assorted, and there’s no comprehensive list of them in the scriptures. The character of “Curly” in the first “City Slickers” movie would haved called it “the secret of life”, the “one thing”, the thing that everybody has to figure out for themselves what it is.
May we all be inspired enough, or even lucky enough, to figure out what that absolute best thing is and then do it.