Lindsey and I gave a talk in church this week. If you want to read it feel free. (If you are in it, sorry... I was on a roll when I was typing it out.) It was sort of funny. The bishop called me late Friday evening because the people who were going to speak in church went off and moved to Idaho!!! He asked if Lindsey and I would talk at the last minute. I told him we would and asked him if there was a subject I needed to speak on. He said the topic was service but because it was last minute we could talk on any subject that we choose. This was the basis for my "High Priest introduction and mandatory dumb joke at the beginning of talk..." ((Yeah you know the type I am talking about)). I told everyone that I would not be talking about Service but rather I would address the upcoming Vikings vs. Cardinals game.
Hey, everyone laughed and it woke some of the people up.
Anyway, here is the talk, enjoy.
We are living through difficult times. When I watch the news at night, I hear and see the economic distress of the world, wars, earthquakes, fire, smoke, murders, crime, and once or twice, I have seen the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds.
“… We ought to have the building up of
Recently in FHE our family learned about the characteristics of
Imagine a community where you could leave on vacation and forget to lock your doors for the week that you are gone. You would not have to worry about losing your job because the corporation is trying to maximize the return to shareholders. It would not matter whether you were a school teacher, a janitor, or a doctor, you would be able to maintain an acceptable quality of life. If you were unable to care for yourself the community would be willing to come and talk to you, help you, and make your life wonderful because it would be unthinkable for anyone to be left out. You would not be treated as a “burden” but as a friend.
Let us compare this with the
Why were the Latter day Saints unable to bring about
I ask you how much closer are we to
You may be surprised to find that the subject of this talk is not about
Joseph Smith said “Let every one labor to prepare himself for the vineyard, sparing a little time to comfort the mourners; to bind up the broken-hearted; to reclaim the backslider; to bring back the wanderer; to re-invite into the kingdom such as have been cut off, by encouraging them to lay to while the day lasts, and work righteousness, and, with one heart and one mind, prepare to help redeem Zion, that goodly land of promise, where the willing and the obedient shall be blessed. …
Service is a purifying act. In doing it we follow the counsel of our Savior when he said “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”
How can service purify us?
Service changes who we are. Years ago, My brother and I were not friends. We were different in both personality and behavior but we were not different in pride. We were both headstrong and stiff-necked. It came to a point that we would not even talk to each other without getting into an argument. Hate and Anger were our constant companions. I tell you this because as I look back on my life this is one of the things I am most ashamed about. Thanks to our Heavenly Fathers great plan and the opportunity for repentance, I was changed though service.
There is nothing like missionary service to help you forget the things that are not worthwhile and focus on the things that are important. In the two years away from my family, I began to see my brother in a new light. I realized that I had been a prideful jerk and there was no excuse for my behavior. I realized that I have no control over my brother but I had control over my actions. After I spoke to the lord about this realization and asking for his forgiveness, I returned to climb the steep hill of true repentance. I began to do things for my brother that he would appreciate. I did this to tell him that I did indeed care for him and that I was sorry for my actions. I did not expect any reward or change in behavior from him. As selfish as this sounds my service to him was for me.
Years have passed from that time. Our relationship is greatly improved from that time and I feel that we have the beginnings of a friendship forming. We can talk without arguing and, this year we even spent a few treasured hours talking about things that I keep close to my heart. The service I gave to my brother has given me the chance to repent and begun to heal our relationship.
Service that you may find “distasteful” or difficult can be the most rewarding service of all. This includes service to people that you may not like or understand.
This is the first reward of service. It does not matter who receives the benefits of your service, for it is all done to God.
Recently I had the opportunity to go to a soup kitchen and provide a meal for 100 homeless men and women in the area. After spending time with them, I heard stories about their lives and who they were. It is easy for us to place judgments upon people that we do not know. We can call the homeless people lazy and deceitful when we see them as we pass by in a car or are asked for help in the parking lot. It is harder to do that when you are serving them with your whole heart. You will find that there is even room to love the people in need. The knowledge that the homeless people are people and worth the time and service you freely give them helps solve the problem of homelessness better than to dispensing the judgments that come easily to the natural man.
I am an imperfect person and . I am deeply indebted to God and his son. King Benjamin said in his sermon, “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. And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you. And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth”.
I do not believe that he said this to give us a guilt trip. He clarifies this statement later on by saying,
“And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.”
It is my hope that notwithstanding my imperfections and weaknesses, this message this will give opportunity for the spirit to improve our desire and ability to fulfill one of the great commandments of the Savior, the commandment to feed his sheep. It is through service that we will rebuild
Hope you have a great holiday!!!!