For a long time I thought that enthusiasm for the gospel was for new converts and recently returned missionaries. The gospel was true but not alive to me. It took me several years to learn that making the gospel live involves second mile service—reaching out to others and losing myself.
For five years I was inactive in the Church. When I decided to become active again, I plunged wholeheartedly into living the gospel.
But as time passed, I became disillusioned. Some Church members I knew were not ideal models of Christian life. Others were slothful in their work. I began to feel that pure, Christlike living was an unrealistic goal.
After I went to college, I was still active in the Church, but my thoughts began to be centered on my career. Going to church seemed more and more like a ritual. The gospel was not the source of my deepest fulfillment.
One day the thought occurred to me: I was not living up to what I knew was true!
I began to put more effort into keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I tried to magnify my calling, read conference talks in the Church magazines, and attended ward choir practice. As a home teacher, I helped out my families where I could between visits. But even with all my efforts, I didn’t feel any more spiritual. I wondered if I ever would.
Then I did something else.
An announcement was made in priesthood meeting that a couple needed help moving their possessions from one house to another. I usually ignored such announcements, thinking that I didn’t know the people and that their close friends and relatives would be there to help them. I also had a very difficult school schedule that required a lot of studying. But this time I decided to help.
On the appointed day, I rode my bicycle over to their house. I felt awkward, not wanting them to think I was trying to show what a “good guy” I was. As I walked inside their house and saw all the stacks of boxes that needed to be carried out to the truck, I almost lost my enthusiasm. “I’ll stay for an hour,” I told myself. “That’s doing my duty.”
Still feeling silly about helping people who were practically strangers, I started carrying boxes out to the truck.
Then a small miracle happened. I began to enjoy the work. I “lost myself” in giving and stayed the whole afternoon—until the entire truck was packed.
I rode home feeling sweaty but wonderful.
At four o’clock the next morning, I awoke feeling very excited. Why? Because I had done something I didn’t have to do. And it felt good!
“I wish I could feel that way all the time,” I thought. I had once heard a General Authority say that he had “ups and downs” like everyone else—only he had learned to take advantage of his “ups.” I decided to take advantage of mine. I got up, knelt, and poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father. I felt a warmth come over me, and my tears flowed freely. At last I was tasting the fruits of my efforts to better live the gospel.
The world’s rewards seemed shallow in comparison with the peace and happiness I felt, knowing I was living in harmony with the Lord’s will. I had learned what the gospel is all about: loving and serving others. Nothing fills us with such lasting satisfaction as the living water of the gospel of Jesus Christ.