The Lord Jesus Christ taught, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:24).
“I believe,” said President Thomas S. Monson, “the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.”1
In the following excerpts from President Monson’s ministry, he reminds Latter-day Saints that they are the Lord’s hands and that the blessings of eternity await those who faithfully serve others.
Service in the Temple
“Great service is given when we perform vicarious ordinances for those who have gone beyond the veil. In many cases we do not know those for whom we perform the work. We expect no thanks, nor do we have the assurance that they will accept that which we offer. However, we serve, and in that process we attain that which comes of no other effort: we literally become saviors on Mount Zion. As our Savior gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for us, so we, in some small measure, do the same when we perform proxy work in the temple for those who have no means of moving forward unless something is done for them by those of us here on the earth.”2
We Are the Lord’s Hands
“My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us. …
“That service to which all of us have been called is the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.”3
Serving in the Savior’s Shadow
“In the New World, the resurrected Lord declared, ‘Ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do’ [3 Nephi 27:21].
“We bless others as we serve in the shadow of ‘Jesus of Nazareth … who went about doing good’ [Acts 10:38]. God bless us to find joy in serving our Father in Heaven as we serve His children on earth.”4
The Need to Serve
“We need to be given a chance to serve. For those members who have slipped from activity or who hold back and remain noncommittal, we can prayerfully seek for some way to reach them. Asking them to serve in some capacity may just be the incentive they need to return to full activity. But those leaders who could help in this regard are sometimes reluctant to do so. We need to bear in mind that people can change. They can put behind them bad habits. They can repent from transgressions. They can bear the priesthood worthily. And they can serve the Lord diligently.”5
Are We Doing All We Should?
“The world is in need of our help. Are we doing all we should? Do we remember the words of President John Taylor: ‘If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty’? [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (2001), 164]. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. The blessings of eternity await you. Yours is the privilege to be not spectators but participants on the stage of … service.”6
Teaching from This Message
“If you have Christlike love, you will be better prepared to teach the gospel. You will be inspired to help others know the Savior and follow Him.”7 Consider praying for increased charity for those you visit. As you develop Christlike love for them, you will be better able to serve in meaningful ways both the Lord and those you teach.
Summer of Service
One summer I spent time in a foreign country working with children with special needs. When I first met the children, I was incredibly nervous. I did not speak their language, but I trusted that the Spirit would guide me in my interactions. As I got to know each child, I realized that language is not a barrier to love. I played, laughed, and did crafts with the children and could not help but feel complete love for them. I glimpsed the love that Heavenly Father has for His children, and the joy that filled my heart defied description.
Whenever I serve others, I feel love not only for those that I serve but also for Heavenly Father. I truly have come to know that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). The purpose of my service, whether in big service projects or through small acts of kindness, has been to glorify God (see Matthew 5:16). I hope that as I serve others, people will recognize my love for Heavenly Father and the Light of Christ that burns within me.
The author lives in Virginia, USA.
Links of Love
Have an adult help you cut out 28 thin strips of paper, each about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and about 8 inches (20 cm) long. Each day this month, perform an act of service to show your love for someone. You might help your parents clean your home or write a kind note to a neighbor.
Write down how you served each day on one of your paper strips, and then tape or glue the ends of the strip together to make a circle. You can connect your circles by sliding one end of a new paper strip through the circle from the previous day before you tape or glue the ends of the new strip together. Watch your links of love grow! You could even continue adding to your service chain after February is over.
“What Have I Done for Someone Today?” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 85.
“Until We Meet Again,” Ensign, May 2009, 113–14.
“What Have I Done for Someone Today?” 86, 87.
“The Savior’s Call to Serve,” Ensign, Aug. 2012, 5.
“See Others as They May Become,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 68.
“Willing and Worthy to Serve,” Ensign, May 2012, 69.
Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching (1999), 12.