Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Homecoming Talk (Feb. 19, 2012)

Key Words and Phrases of Service

  1. “Forget yourself and go to work”
  2. “For whom?”
  3. “Nevertheless”

Definition: True to the Faith: “willingness... to ‘bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light,’ to ‘mourn with those that mourn,’ and to ‘comfort those that stand in need of comfort.(Mosiah 18:8-9)

Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve defined this service as “small flecks of gold that accumulate over time into a large treasure...a life filled with love for Heavenly Father, devotion to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a sense of peace and joy each time we reach out to one another. “1

Jesus taught through the parable of the sheep and the goats that those who serve, and serve faithfully, will be found on the right hand of God for “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40)

During my time in the mission field, and as well in very many other experiences, I’ve taken note of 3 phrases that we can think of and apply in our lives that can help us increase our desire to serve.

1. “Forget yourself and go to work”

That was the counsel given to young Gordon B. Hinckley by his father during his mission.
  • Mark 8:35
    • For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
Putting the needs and desires of those around us in front of our own, namely the desires of our Father in Heaven, our families, friends, and neighbours.
It is not to say that you should completely stop taking care of yourself, but, to not focus completely on yourself, and to find ways to fulfill the commandment of “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Mark 12:31)
Stories about this point:
  • Elder Washburn-never decided to stop
  • Parents (in specific and in general)
Why would this be a key phrase of service? Have you ever found yourself serving someone, without any desire, and feeling like you are wasting your time? On the other hand, what about the times when you had the opportunity to serve, and found that it was a joy, maybe even a pleasure to be serving? What was the difference maker between these two situations? I think that we’ll find that most of the time, that it is because we had forgotten ourselves, and focused on the task placed in front of us, or even the person whom we were serving.

2. “For whom?”

Story about this point:
  • I found myself at one point during my mission having lost my zeal and was frustrated with myself and my performance. Everything was going fine, our investigators were progressing, the companionship was fine, nothing seemed out of place... but I still felt like there was something wrong, or at least I convinced myself that it was that way. I kept trying to figure out the “problem,” though,  it seemed as if there was no avail. During this period of time, I received an email from my father, in the which he urged me to read section 121 from Doctrine and Covenants. While I was reading it, a thought came to my mind “Why are you doing everything you are doing, and for whom?” I meditated over this thought again, and again... wondering... for whom I was doing all this service? Was it for me? Was it for my companion? Who was I there for?
Well with that, we go back to Mark 12 where it states the first and great commandment that  “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:this is the first commandment.” (v. 30) And the second...Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (v. 31)

Often, we find people that are in great opportunities of service and doing a great job in doing so, in fact, they do all service that is placed before them... but sadly... they do it too often for themselves, many times, in hopes that they can be seen for there acts; or there are even times when people act as if they are a certain role, but fail to keep up that part that they so claim they play. Elder Lynn G. Robins talked about this in his talk stating that to Do without be—hypocrisy—portrays a false image to others, while be without do portrays a false image to oneself.2

To serve is to help others, not ourselves. We always say that when we serve, we serve not to earn a reward. In fact Jesus taught that  
“when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matt 6:3-4)

Our acts of service are not for us, they are to serve our fellow brethren, to show our love for them, and for out Father in Heaven, and if we have this attitude, we will be willing to serve to “with all [our] heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day,” (D&C 4:2)

  • How would you define love in one word?
  • In Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19, Christ shows us the overall power of his love for us and his overwhelming to serve us and God in one word. (Verse 19)

3. “Nevertheless”

Our service should be without bounds, restrictions, or restraints. This attitude that Christ had that, regardless of what was happening to him, was fully devoted to finish the task, in fact, he was even willing to do the task, because he knew that it was the will of his Father and knew that he was doing this great service, the Atonement, for us.

How many times do we find ourselves that when an opportunity arises, that we seem to find an excuse pop into our head (“But” Zone) or remember some... thing that distracts us from the opportunity in front of us?

Having this attitude that “Nevertheless” will allow us to overcome many things. Maybe we find that we have a time to attend the Temple, to serve our brethren dead...and yet, at the same time... something arises... if we remember how the Savior the will of his Father and the welfare of his brethren, we can think, “Nevertheless, I will go and do.”

This form of service can truly bring us closer to true discipleship, to a truer form of charity, for we will see that we begin to serve, with a full desire to serve... we may even begin to think “I want to serve them” or “Who can I serve today?” or maybe even “What can I do for ‘Bill’ today?”

Truly... we begin to fulfill and keep the commandment that the Lord gave to the apostles before his turn to serve “By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35)


Now to summarize:
Service reaches it’s highest point of fulfillment and joy once we “forget [ourselves] and go to work”, when we remember “for whom” we are serving, and even when something arises to bring us away from the work, “nevertheless”, we serve.

Now I promise that when we put these phrases in practice in our lives, we will begin to see our desire to serve grow, our reasons to serve change, and our love for our brethren increase and we will begin to see those who surround us as they truly are, each a son or daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves us.

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