Objective: To develop and share the constant, Christlike love that lies eternally at the heart of the gospel.
Throughout history, vast kingdoms have risen and fallen. Wealth and possessions have decayed and rotted. Sickness and death have claimed innocent victims. It seems that there is little in the world about us that is permanent.
But there is one thing we can count on. Mormon wrote that “if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
“But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” (Moro. 7:46–47.)
President Ezra Taft Benson added to Mormon’s definition of charity. “The world today speaks a great deal about love, and it is sought for by many,” he said. “But the pure love of Christ differs greatly from what the world thinks of love. Charity never seeks selfish gratification. The pure love of Christ seeks only the eternal growth and joy of others.” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 47.)
Charity is the heart of the gospel. We seek to be like our Savior; therefore, learning to love as he loves should be our highest goal. For that reason, “Charity Never Faileth” is the Relief Society motto.
Organized to help women develop and express charity, the Relief Society gives many opportunities to love and serve others. Such service helps both the giver and the receiver develop charity—as the Relief Society sisters in one ward learned when they helped a young mother face tragedy.
Blanche was in her early thirties when she underwent an operation. But a mistake was made, a nerve was cut, and Blanche was left permanently paralyzed. She was confined to a wheelchair. Her husband was an alcoholic, and he soon left her and their four young children.
Blanche struggled to raise her children, with the help of family, friends, neighbors, and Relief Society sisters—all of whom helped her do what she could not do by herself. Surprisingly, many of those who served Blanche often left her home wondering who had given and who had received!
Forced into a position of need for the rest of her life, Blanche often expressed her reverence for life and her gratitude for her blessings to all those who helped her. She enriched their lives, and both she and those who served gained the blessings that Christlike service can kindle in our hearts.
Each of us will have chances to serve and to be served; both are indispensable to our salvation. In serving and being served, we can learn to love each other as the Lord loves us.
Developing Christlike love requires time and endurance. It may seem easier to love mankind in general than to love the person from whom we feel alienated. We may cry at hearing a touching story and later treat our husband, child, roommate, or neighbor rudely. We may not take the time to say, “I’m sorry,” or to include those who need love and acceptance. Service is not usually convenient or easy to perform.
In our attempt to develop charity, the Savior’s example can be our guide; his love knows no restrictions. The scriptures show us how he observed the needs of others and fed, healed, comforted, and blessed them. In his great love for us, he atoned for the sins of all the world, making immortality and eternal life possible for us.
As members of his church, we too have promised to bear one another’s burdens and to “feed his sheep.” (See Mosiah 18:8–10; and John 21:17; D&C 112:14.) Service is the way we do that. To each of us, Barbara W. Winder, general president of the Relief Society, says: “We demonstrate our acceptance of the Savior’s atonement for us when we express benevolent goodwill toward and lovingly serve others. By extending charity, the gift Christ so nobly gave may become valid in our lives.”
Discuss an example of charity in Christ’s life.
You or the sister you visit may wish to share an experience about how serving others helped develop charity.
(See Family Home Evening Resource Book, pp. 48–51, 98–101, 106–108, 156–160 for related materials.)