If I had to think today about what matters most to the Lord about our time here on earth, three things come to mind.
1. The relationship we develop with our Savior
2. The relationship we develop with our family
3. The relationship we develop with our fellow man (otherwise known as: service)
For me at least, everything that Heavenly Father indicates He wants for me in this life are wrapped up in these three things. Yes, there are many more specific instructions that may not appear to be included in these three, but I’d bet the relationship is there whether it’s easily seen or not.
To this end He has provided us with specific instructions for each of these areas. I’m grateful for the proclamations on the Family and the Living Christ. In addition to the scriptures, these offer a great amount of insight into the first two areas.
But what about service? Why do I place that on my list above anything else? Well, as I’ve been thinking about it, I’ve remembered the many times in the scriptures that the Lord has emphasized helping and caring for others. Service was the entire focus of the Savior’s earthly ministry. Service matters to the Savior, it is what He requires His disciples to be eagerly engaged in and focused on.
When I think about accounting for my time here on earth, I think that there are a lot of things I may have been good at: like obeying the word of wisdom, or attending my meetings, but I think the first thing Heavenly Father will want to know is, “how have you treated My children?” Like any kind and concerned parent, His children are His first priority. We see that in the way He loves and cares for us. We should see that He holds each of His children with the same regard. Will it matter if we never got a speeding ticket or cheated on our taxes if we didn’t reach out to those around us? I don’t think how well we conquer the other commandments can make up for ignoring our fellow man in the process.
For the member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Chieko N. Okazaki states, “our real calling to be a compassionate Christian came when we stepped out of the waters of baptism.” (Chieko N. Okazaki- Rejoice in Every Good Thing)
That holds true for every individual who wishes to be a disciple of Christ. The moment we make that resolution and turn our lives over to His hands, each one of us is promising to serve Him, and our neighbor, as He sees fit.
That’s not to say it’s an easy thing to do. Service takes preparation. We each need to practice taking the focus off of ourselves and placing it on the Lord and the Spirit. When we do this we are able to find out what the Lord would have us do. This process of drawing away from ourselves and closer to the Savior is what opens our hearts and minds to who we can reach out to and how.
Mother Teresa said, “I’m a little pencil in the hands of God. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything—and it’s really hard—sometimes it’s a broken pencil. He has to sharpen it a little more. But be a little instrument in His hands so that He can use you anytime, anywhere. … We have only to say Yes to Him.” (“Love: A Fruit Always in Season,” Daily Meditations, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987, p. 243.)