Ben was angry. It was Saturday morning, and he had just come home from a violin rehearsal. He had a list of chores to do, a violin performance that afternoon, and now something more—his dad had just told him that it was his family’s turn to clean the church.
“I’m not going to have any time to play!” he declared as he threw his jacket on the floor.
Dad sat down with Ben at the kitchen table and said quietly, “I know this is a busy day. But it might be easier if you remember who your time really belongs to.”
Ben calmed down. He knew he was a child of God and that everything—even time—was a gift from Heavenly Father. He nodded slowly.
Dad smiled. “Go get a Book of Mormon, Ben. I want to show you something.”
Dad opened the scriptures to Mosiah 2. “You remember King Benjamin, don’t you?” Ben grinned. He liked to hear stories about the ancient prophet whose name he shared.
“King Benjamin wanted to teach his people how to be happy. He built a tower so people could hear him better, and the people gathered from all around. It was a lot like general conference. He stood on the tower and reminded the people that their homes, families, bodies, and even the air around them were gifts from a loving Heavenly Father.
“He also told his people that he had worked very hard his whole life serving them. He said, ‘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.’”*
“You see, Ben,” Dad concluded, “when you are helping other people, you are helping Heavenly Father. If Jesus appeared to you this morning and asked you to serve Him all day, you would probably be pretty excited about it. If you think about it, Jesus has already asked us to serve Him every day.”
Ben was almost convinced, but he had a question. “I can see how working helps others, but how does playing my violin serve anyone?”
Dad smiled wisely. “Why don’t you wait and see?”
As Ben started doing his chores, he realized that the work needed to be done, so he might as well be cheerful in doing it. He soon noticed how happy it made his mom when he worked without complaining.
Later, when Ben went to the church to help clean, he had fun racing his brother as they vacuumed the cultural hall. He thought about how a spotless church shows respect to Heavenly Father. And cleaning didn’t seem to take as long as he thought it would.
The violin performance was at a home for older people. At first Ben felt nervous. Most of the people were in wheelchairs, and many of them looked like they were asleep. But as Ben began to play his violin, he noticed a white-haired lady in the front row. She was tapping her foot to the music. Ben tried to play his very best just for her. He played a fast fiddling song, and everyone began to clap their hands and stomp their feet. Soon everyone was laughing and smiling.
The last song was “I Am a Child of God.”** Ben played better than he ever had before. As the final notes sang out, a sweet and peaceful feeling settled over the room.
Ben understood now. Beautiful music brings people closer to Heavenly Father, and he was serving others by inviting the Spirit. As he sat down, Dad squeezed his shoulder. “When you play your violin, I can feel Heavenly Father’s love for me. You have a great gift and you need to keep sharing it.” Ben felt warm inside.
As they walked out of the rest home, Ben waved good-bye to his new friends.
“How do you feel now?” Dad asked.
“I feel so good, Dad. I thought today would be nothing but work. But when I thought about serving Heavenly Father instead of myself, everything seemed easier.”
“If you really know that you are a child of God, you will also know that He expects much of you, His child. … He will expect you to be generous and kind to others.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “You Are a Child of God,” Ensign, May 2003, 119.