The principle for our discussion on this Sabbath day is service. Jesus taught the importance of service when He explained, "I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:27). He also taught, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). It is a fact that true followers of Jesus Christ desire to serve other people.
The Savior taught the importance of service in the following parable. In His parable, He returned to earth in all His glory and separated the righteous from the wicked. To the righteous He said, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me" (Matthew 25:34-36).
The righteous people were puzzled and asked Him, "Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?" (Matthew 25:37-39).
The Lord answered them: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40).
I recognize the principle that Jesus Christ was teaching in this parable. As a mother and grandmother, I appreciate the efforts of every person who serves my children or grandchildren, and I feel that they are serving me also.
Service can be defined as giving assistance to someone else. Giving Christlike service comes from a genuine love for the Savior as well as love and concern for those we have the opportunity to serve. Since love is more than a feeling, we have a sincere desire to help those that we love.
Service is something that can be given by anyone regardless of income, age, or social position. Service can be helping others economically, socially, physically, and spiritually. Service takes place when we share food or other articles, be a friend to someone new in the community, listen to a lonely person, help an elderly or sick person, or comfort someone who grieves. Service can be either small or large acts, and small acts of service can be just as important as large acts of service. Just as the Savior gave up His life in serving us, we may be required to sacrifice greatly to serve someone.
God wants us to do service because much of His work is done through the acts of service done by men and women, boys and girls. President Spencer W. Kimball explained, "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball , 82).
We all depend on others for help throughout our lives. As babies, we were fed, clothed and cared for by our parents or else we would have died. As we grew up, other people taught us skills and attitudes. Many people have needed nursing care during illness or money during a financial crisis. We are all dependent upon God.
Blessings come to those who serve others. One of the greatest blessings that comes through service is the increased ability to love the person we serve. As we help others with their problems, we become less selfish and our problems seem less serious. In fact, one of the best ways to overcome sadness or loneliness is to look around until we find someone who is worse off than we are and help them. Those who desire to live with God must love and serve His children (see Matthew 25:34-40).
People who serve unselfishly usually gain much more than they give. President Spencer W. Kimball said, "We become more substantive as we serve others - indeed, it is easier to `find' ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!" (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 85-86).
Jesus Christ commands us to love and to serve everyone, and He gives us many opportunities to serve (see Mosiah 4:15-19). There is much service to be given in a family situation between husband and wife and between parents and children. There are also many opportunities to serve our neighbors, our friends or even strangers. If God has given special talents to us, we should use those talents to serve other people.
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of service. He told His followers that He came to earth to give His life for us and not to be served. He loves each of us very much, even more than we can understand. During His life on earth, He served the poor, the ignorant, the sinner, and the despised, and He taught His gospel to all who would listen. He fed crowds of hungry people who came to hear Him, healed the sick, and raised the dead.
When we willingly give service to other people, we develop more Christ-like love for them as well as become more like Christ.