King Benjamin, a prophet-king in ancient America, was a great and righteous leader. Under his leadership his people eliminated contention in their land and had peace. King Benjamin was also a good father to his three sons and accepted the parental responsibility to teach his children. He taught them “in all the language of his fathers” that they might be “men of understanding.” He also taught them the words of the prophets and the importance of studying the scriptures. (See Mosiah 1:1-3.)
After King Benjamin “made an end of teaching his sons,” he realized that he was old and would “soon go the way of all the earth” (Mosiah 1:9). He wanted to leave his kingdom in good hands, so he called his oldest son, Mosiah, to him. He told Mosiah that he was going to confer the kingdom upon him. He also told Mosiah to notify the people in the kingdom to gather together the next day at the temple because he (the King) wanted to speak to his people.
Mosiah was obedient to the commands of his father and notified the people of the kingdom to come to the temple to hear the words of the king. The people gathered on the morrow, but there were too many people to meet within the temple. King Benjamin caused that a tower should be built in order that the people could hear his words. He also caused that his words should be written and taken to the people to make sure that all of his people knew what he spoke.
King Benjamin’s speech contains many nuggets of truth as found in Mosiah 2-5. The truth that I wish to enlarge upon today is found in Mosiah 2:17-19.
17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
18 Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?
19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!
I learned the truth of these words by King Benjamin very early in my mothering experience. I learned that the greatest service that anyone could give to me was to help my children. If I as a mortal had this desire for someone to help my children, I can only imagine how Heavenly Father must feel toward anyone who helps His children.
Since we are all His children, each of us are usually on one end or the other of service, meaning that we are either serving someone or being served by someone. This is true in families as well as communities or nations.
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke about the importance of service in our quest to gain eternal life. He spoke about the Savior being the perfect “example of unselfish service” and how He devoted His life to serving Heavenly Father and His children. He explained that “we must be changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ – born again and cleansed from sin” to “qualify for eternal life. He then spoke about how we can be assured that we are being cleansed and prepared to return to God’s presence.
One of the assurances that you are being purified is an increasing desire to serve others for the Savior. Home teaching and visiting teaching become more of a joy and less of a chore. You find yourself volunteering more often in a local school or helping care for the poor in your community. Even though you may have little money to give to those who have less, you wish you had more so that you could give more (see Mosiah 4:24). You find yourself eager to serve your children and to show them how to serve others.
As your nature changes, you will feel a desire to give greater service without recognition. I know disciples of the Savior who have given great gifts of money and service with a determination that no one but God and their children would know about it. God has recognized their service by blessing them in this life, and He will bless them in the eternal life to come (see Matthew 6:1-4; 3 Nephi 13:1-4 (“Service and Eternal Life,” Ensign, March 2014.)
One does not automatically learn to forget oneself in service to others. There must be teaching of some kind taking place in order to impress the importance of service upon the rising generation. This teaching should be performed by parents and other leaders and shown by example as well by word.
This site has some ideas on how to turn our homes into “service stations.” The site includes the following ideas: (1) A parent can take a child with them when delivering some of the “family’s plenty with others” who need it. (2) When baking goodies, a mother can “make enough to share with someone outside” the family and include the children in the decision of who gets the extra goodies. (3) Parents can teach children to help others in the family. (4) Parents can take children with them in performing service.
As we learn to serve one another we will be preparing ourselves for eternal life. As we teach our children by precept and example to serve others, we can help them to live happier lives here and to prepare for eternity. Service is a blessing for people on both ends of the experience. When we are serving the children of Heavenly Father, we are in His service.