People watching has always been a passion of mine. Human behavior is always interesting. Good powers of observation allow one to see how humans react in certain situations. For instance, it has been interesting to watch how people have reacted to the recent pandemic. I’ve personally observed panic, depression, calm, peace, resilience, empathy, service, fear, withdrawal, and humility. As members of Christ’s Church, we are taught to serve. During this crazy time, I’ve seen many people serve. Masks have been made, groceries have been picked up and delivered, and ward leaders have dug deep to find ways to keep their brothers and sisters safe, happy, and well connected. I’ve also seen people “check out” of their callings—maybe from fear or panic; maybe from the overwhelming task of keeping their families safe; or maybe as a respite from the regular stress of their callings. As I’ve watched the contrast from those who serve harder and those who check out, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to sacrifice.
We sacrifice for different reasons. Sometimes sacrifice is just in our makeup; sometimes we do it because we are taught it is the right thing to do. We may sacrifice out of a sense of gratitude, or to keep busy when we are lonely. Maybe we sacrifice out of love for others, or for Christ, or both. Often, I think we sacrifice from a combination of many things. I don’t know whether the motives for our sacrifice makes a difference. I’m sure Heavenly Father would rather we serve for good reasons, but I’m also sure that He is happy when we serve His children in any capacity for any reason.
President Henry B. Eyring, speaking of the desire to serve our ancestors, recently said:
“The Lord saw it all coming. He planned for it, step by step, as He has done with other changes in His Church. He has raised up and prepared faithful people who choose to do hard things well. He has always been lovingly patient in helping us learn “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.” (2 Nephi 28:30) He is firm in the timing and the sequence of His intentions, yet He ensures that sacrifice often brings continuing blessings that we did not foresee.
I close by expressing my gratitude to the Lord—He who inspired President Nelson to invite me to make a sacrifice to prepare for this conference. Every hour and every prayer during my preparation brought a blessing.
I invite all who hear this message or read these words to have faith that the Lord is leading the Restoration of His gospel and His Church. He goes before us. He knows the future perfectly. He invites you to the work. He joins you in it. He has in place a plan for your service. And even as you sacrifice, you will feel joy as you help others rise to be ready for His coming” (President Henry B. Eyring, “He Goes before Us,” Apr. 2020 General Conference).
Whether we are doing service for our ancestors, or service for the living, the principles are the same.
- We do hard things well.
- We learn line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.
- Sacrifice brings unforeseen blessings.
- Sacrifice requires preparation and prayer; preparation and prayer bring blessings.
- Christ invites and joins with us in the work.
- Christ has a plan for our service.
- We feel joy as we help others prepare for His coming.
Sacrifice means the will to give up something. I often ask myself the question “What am I willing to give up for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?” It isn’t a question easily answered, and it’s not a question that is always answered the same way. As my faith ebbs and flows, the things I am willing to sacrifice change. The natural man is lazy and selfish. It is only when I remember the sacrifice that Christ made for me that I summon enough humility for true sacrifice. All He asks of me is a humble heart and a contrite spirit. It seems so simple—yet, it is a constant struggle
As the pandemic continues to loom over us, I hope and pray we use it as a means of perfecting our sacrifice and service. There is need around us. Yes, we can lock ourselves up and away from others and stay safe. We can also find many ways to serve those around us in need. It just requires a little creativity and willpower. It also requires faith and prayer. As with everything else, first there must be desire. We need the desire to serve. Then we need motivation. As we serve those around us, let us also find ways to serve in our church callings. Our brothers and sisters need our sacrifice. They need our creativity. They need our love. Let us not “check out.” Let us use this time to perfect our sacrifice and service.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.