Jesus Christ taught service by both word and actions. He said, “I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:27). All true followers of Jesus Christ understand that we must also serve other people, meaning we must help others who need assistance. In order to make the most of our service, we should do it with Christ-like love.
All of us are capable of serving others; in fact, we have no excuse for not serving in spite of our income, age, health conditions, or social position. The poor as well as the rich, the young as well as the old, male and female, all races are required to serve others.
There are many ways to serve others – economically, spiritually, socially, or physically. To the needy, we can donate food, clothing, money, etc. To the stranger, we can offer welcome. To the elderly, we can offer an ear for listening. To the ill, we can offer support in getting to doctors, providing meals for the family, child care, etc. To the spiritually needy, we can share the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not need to stand back and wait for a great need for service. Even small acts of service – such as a smile – can strengthen others.
The Savior asks – and even commands – us to serve other people because it is through service to His sons and daughters that the work of God is accomplished. President Spencer W. Kimball once said, “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs” (Ensign, Dec. 1974, p. 5).
The righteous King Benjamin served his people all of his life and earned his own living rather than requiring his people to pay for it. He taught the importance of service to his people when he said, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God … and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 2:17-18).
We gain great blessings by giving service to other people. One of the greatest blessings we can receive is an increased capacity to love others and become less selfish as we think of others. Another great blessing that comes through serving others is a realization that other people have problems also and most of those problems are greater than our own. God commands us to serve others and makes service a requirement in obtaining eternal life.
We should serve everyone and not just those people we feel comfortable with or enjoy being around. The most important place for us to serve others is within the walls of our own homes. As we serve our spouse, children, and grandchildren – or parents and grandparents, our love for them grows stronger. Serving children means more than feeding and clothing them; it also means teaching them correct values, correcting them with love, playing with them and working with them. Children can serve by helping with the family chores.
Husbands can serve their wives by helping with household chores and caring for sick children, and wives can serve their husbands by preparing favorites dishes and showing gratitude for all they do for the family. Older siblings can help younger children, and young children can help older children. We can serve in our communities in many ways. We also have many opportunities to serve within our faith communities.
The Savior gave us the perfect example of service. He understood and explained to others that He came to earth to serve other people and to give His life for us (Matthew 20:28). Jesus Christ is our Elder Brother, and He loves each one of us with a perfect love. He served the poor, the unlearned, the sinner, and the despised. He taught His gospel to all who would listen; He fed crowds of hungry people; He healed many, and He raised the dead. He performed many acts of service in spite of the fact that He is our God, Savior, and Lord of the universe. The evening before His crucifixion, the Son of God bent and washed the feed of His disciples (John 13:4-10). We can become more like the Savior by following His example of serving others.