Serve others

"Our lives of service and sacrifice are the most appropriate expressions of our commitment to serve 
the Master and our fellowmen."
-Dallin H. Oaks-

Over the past few weeks, I've really been thinking about service and how in order to serve efficiently, often we have to make sacrifices in our life to provide said service.

One of the most impactful stories that comes to mind is one that happened very recently. Unless you live in the wilderness with no internet or phone, you have heard of the wildfires that wreaked devastation on California recently. 88 precious lives lost, 10,000 homes destroyed; homes full of pictures and memories that will never be a part of those peoples lives again. Imagine, what would your reaction be if you were one of those who lost their home? Would you wallow in grief (I would like to say I wouldn't, but honestly, I might..) or would you get to work to help others, to SERVE others?

Thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lost homes, loved ones and possessions; but instead of pitying themselves (which they would have every right to) they instead got to work serving others.

Are you ready for the "impactful" part? Don't get me wrong, all of those faithful members (and those that aren't members of our church that also decided to serve others) definitely make an impact and it is amazing to read everything they're doing. But I would like to ask another question: If you had just lost a child 2 days prior, would you be at home grieving, or would you travel to help those in need? Having already lost a brother in my lifetime, I chose the former, staying home for weeks to grieve the loss of him that I loved so dearly.

President Russell M. Nelson, a prophet of our Heavenly Father, lost his daughter to cancer 2 days before he was going to travel to California to be with those members who had lost everything. He had every excuse in the world to cancel the trip and just spend time with his family and mourn the loss of his daughter. But instead, he chose to travel to California and be with the victims of the wildfires; to comfort them, uplift them, mourn with them. In a time where nobody would have judged him for taking time to personally grieve with his family; instead, he chose to go and get lost in the service of others. 

"If you want to feel better, forget about yourself and serve somebody else." (Russell M. Nelson)

Dallin H Oaks had this to say when speaking about the Atonement of Jesus Christ during the April 2012 General Conference:

"[Jesus Christ] also commands each of us to love and serve one another - in effect, to offer a small imitation of His own sacrifice by making sacrifices of our own time and selfish priorities."

Service comes in all shapes and sizes and won't always require you to majorly sacrifice any time in your day.

Below are a few ways you can "serve" someone in your every day life!

  • A smile 
  • A hug
  • Opening a door for someone
  • Helping unload the grocery cart of the person behind you
  • Allowing a car to pull out in front of you when traffic is backed up

While these are simple, you shouldn't focus primarily on simple acts of service. Let's pinpoint a few more acts of service you can do as a member of the Church:

  • Go with the missionaries to a lesson with an investigator
  • Give rides to those who have no car to get to church
  • Participate in your calling at church (and if you don't have one, talk to your bishop about getting one!)
  • Volunteer to give an opening/closing prayer
  • When your ward or branch is going to do a service project, volunteer to help!
  • Visit the temple often, so you can serve those who passed on from this mortal life before they had the opportunity to be baptized/endowed/sealed. 

There are so many more things we can do; the opportunities to serve others are LIMITLESS. 

Richard L Evans, in the February 1971 Ensign magazine, stated the following:

"One of the greatest accomplishments in this world would be that of lifting human hearts. Blessed are they who are kind and considerate of the feelings of other people."

Service doesn't have a set definition, as you can see from the examples above. Some service might involve manual labor (think: building a porch for a disabled person, clearing trees after a storm, etc) or it might be something more simple (think: a listening ear for someone struggling, complimenting someone you don't know, etc)

But it isn't just the words of apostles that say we should be of service to others in our every day lives, but the scriptures as well.

D&C 59:5 - "Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him."

Mosiah 2:17 - "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

Matthew 25:40 - "...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

The common point made in the above scriptures (and many others) is that as we serve our fellow man, we serve our Heavenly Father.

For much of my life, I have groaned and sighed whenever I was asked to help with a service project. When I saw opportunities of service in every day life, I would ignore them. But coming into 2019, I made a goal to worry less about my secular pleasures (video games, movies, etc) and worry more about growing closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. One part of achieving this goal was to start praying for Heavenly Father to bring opportunities of service into my path, AND, for me to recognize those opportunities so that I might act on them.

I can testify that as I have had the opportunity to serve those our Father in Heaven has brought into my path, it has made me have more happiness in my every day life. It has helped me feel the Spirit more than I have in the past and has brought blessings upon me.

My challenge to all my readers, as we start this new week, is to pray to your Heavenly Father and ask Him the same thing I did: To bring opportunities of service into your path and to help you recognize those opportunities. As you do this, I promise you're life will be filled with more happiness, just as mine has been. 

If you've experienced the joy of service in your life already, I would love to hear about it in the comments!

"The Lord...will more than recompense all who join in giving help to those in need."
-Henry B. Eyring-


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