Alma taught that through baptism we covenant to serve God, “that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon [us]” (Mosiah 18:10). One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy, which Inga Britt Soederstroem receives from quietly doing her part. She lives just south of the Arctic Circle in Skellefteo, Sweden. In her seventies, she is 3 1/2 feet tall, is confined to a wheelchair, and can no longer physically serve as she used to. But still she offers what she can by welcoming missionaries and investigators into her home, sharing her testimony with fellow branch members, and offering comfort to those who are suffering (Church News, 16 April 1994). In very deed, she receives more joy through her service.
Much of the Savior’s ministry consisted of teaching and helping those around him, one by one. We, too, can contribute by serving others, one by one, through small, simple acts of love. And those often in most immediate need of our service are our families. President Harold B. Lee declared that the most important of the Lord’s work we will ever do will be “within the walls of [our] own home” (Strengthening the Home pamphlet, 1973, page 7).
The Savior identified others, as well, who need our help. Among them are the “fatherless and the widows” (James 1:27) and those who are struggling with weakening faith, diminishing physical abilities, disease, and discouragement. He admonished us to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).
Within our communities, genuine concern shown through charitable acts and Christlike service can bless both individuals and their families. As part of the Relief Society gospel literacy effort, for example, a group of Tongan sisters in San Francisco help children study after school. Their reward is “exceedingly great joy” from seeing students acquire confidence, gain skills and knowledge, and improve their lives.
Beth Tracy accepted a call to serve in the Los Angeles California Stake Primary with apprehension. As a convert to the Church who had never attended Primary and had served mostly with adults, Beth wondered, “What can I offer to children?” But through substitute teaching in a nursery, encouraging other Primary leaders who were also feeling inadequate, and learning to love children of many nationalities, she found satisfaction and joy—the results of Christlike service to her fellow beings (see Mosiah 2:17).
President Gordon B. Hinckley has identified the joy we receive for the good we may do: “In any land, in any city, in any home, in any life, there are opportunities all around to stretch our lives and our interests in behalf of others. … If we want joy in our hearts, if we want the Spirit of the Lord in our lives, let us forget ourselves and reach out. Let us put in the background our own personal, selfish interests and reach out in service to others” (Ensign, August 1982, page 6).
• How can being of service help us overcome selfishness?
• In what ways can we “succor, lift, and strengthen” someone?