Observe, Then Serve, Sister Burton Teaches

  • 07 October, 2012

“To help us better love one another, I would like to suggest four words to remember: 'First observe, then serve.’” —Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president

May Church members seek to first observe, then serve, said Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president. “As we do so we are keeping covenants and our service, like President [Thomas S.] Monson's, will be evidence of our discipleship.”

Speaking during the Sunday morning session, Sister Burton said one of the greatest evidences that President Monson is the Lord's chosen servant is that he has learned to follow the Savior's example—serving individuals, one by one. “Those of us who have entered the waters of baptism have covenanted to do the same,” she said.

Sister Burton said that, for some, serving or ministering one by one doesn't come easily. “But with practice, each of us can become more like the Savior as we serve God's children,” she said. “To help us better love one another, I would like to suggest four words to remember: 'First observe, then serve.'”

All Church members are invited to follow the Savior's teachings and minister to others, she said.

Sister Burton recalled visiting the temple 40 years ago. “We had been married only a short time, and I was nervous because this was only my second time as a newlywed,” she said. “A sister sitting next to me must have noticed. She leaned over and whispered reverently: 'Don't worry. I'll help you.' My fears were calmed, and I was able to enjoy the rest of the temple session. She first observed, then served.”

Observing and serving sometimes requires great effort, she said. What better place to first observe and then serve than in the home, she asked.

“Sometimes we are tempted to serve in a way that we want to serve and not necessarily in the way that is needed at the moment,” she explained.

The service of Latter-day Saints will more likely resemble the Savior's ministry as they ask, when serving, “Am I doing this for the Savior, or am I doing this for me?”

Sister Burton said a few weeks ago she sat down in the temple next to a young sister who learned over and asked for help. “How could she ever have known that those words were exactly what I needed to hear? She didn't know, but Heavenly Father knew. He had observed my greatest need. I needed to serve.”