I talked yesterday about the need for preparation of our hearts and minds for service experiences.
Elder Henry B. Eyring said: “You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands.” (Henry B. Eyring, “Rise to Your Call,” Ensign Nov. 2002, 7)
We need to remove our thoughts and focus from our own needs and trials and place them on the needs of those around us. This task requires us to reach within, to put our lives and hearts in order with the teaching of Christ and invite the Spirit to guide our hands and feet for good.
This connection with the Holy Ghost is our key to discipleship. When we let it prompt us, we may find that the schedule we had in mind for the day, or the words we might have said in passing to a friend, aren’t what the Lord has in mind for us and them. With out that inspirational connection, how would we know the difference?
Consider the instructions Christ gave His disciples:
And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people. Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 3 Nephi 13:25
While this may seem harsh council from the Savior, it’s a challenge with a blessing for the faithful. Christ needed to make it perfectly clear to His disciples that other’s needs were to be placed above their own. Their first responsibility was to service and their fellow man. How often, in our own ways, do we think about what we will eat, (and then what we’ve eaten too much of) how we should spend our time or whether or not the pants we want to buy flatter us or are a good bargain when the Spirit has been trying to whisper, “Stop. Look there. Do you see where I need you to send your love?” What have we missed because we have been looking inward at our own selves, cares, and desires rather than reaching inward to tap our divine nature for goodness and love?
Service, ministering to others, is doing God’s work in His way. It is holy and sacred. The Bible Dictionary states, “The work of the ministry is to do the work of the Lord on the earth—to represent the Lord among the people . . . The chosen servants and appointed officers in the Church of Jesus Christ are put on earth by him to conduct the work necessary for the salvation of mankind.”
“As we seek to emulate the Savior, we should remember that our personal ministering of others is more than what we do to and for them. It is about who we are and are becoming. Acquiring the attributes to minister or to nurture is part of the eternal process of becoming like Christ, which happens as we develop pure motives for our service and then act upon them. . . . At times, we can become distracted by a whole list of good pursuits, but the bottom line is that the essential divine instruction we have received is to minister to the needs of others. . . . The impressions I receive are that simplification and flexibility allow for more personal ministry.” (Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President)
Many of us feel we haven’t the time for a true commitment to service, but we will find that if we keep focused on the Spirit, there are many opportunities to serve that “fit” with who we are. Granted, there will also be opportunities that require us to stretch beyond who we think we are. Those are the sweetest of all.
Remember, look inward to the Spirit and you will be able to reach out in service.