“To find real happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves,” President Thomas S. Monson teaches. “No one has learned the meaning of living until he has surrendered his ego to the service of his fellow man. Service to others is akin to duty, the fulfillment of which brings true joy.”
As we look heavenward, President Monson says we will inevitably learn of our responsibility to reach outward.
“We do not live alone—in our city, our nation, or our world,” President Monson says. “There is no dividing line between our prosperity and our neighbor’s wretchedness. ‘Love thy neighbor’ is more than a divine truth. It is a pattern for perfection. This truth inspires the familiar charge, ‘Go forth to serve.’ Try as some of us may, we cannot escape the influence our lives have upon the lives of others. Ours is the opportunity to build, to lift, to inspire, and indeed to lead. The New Testament teaches that it is impossible to take a right attitude toward Christ without taking an unselfish attitude toward men.”
President Monson encourages Latter-day Saints to “reach outward. … Membership in the Church calls forth a determination to serve. A position of responsibility may not be of recognized importance, nor may the reward be broadly known. Service, to be acceptable to the Savior, must come from willing minds, ready hands, and pledged hearts.”
Lose Ourselves in Service
He also calls upon all people to follow the example of Jesus Christ. “The Savior taught His disciples, ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.’
“I believe 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.”
Be a Sincere Friend
President Monson quotes the 16th president of the United States. “Abraham Lincoln offered this wise counsel, which surely applies to home teachers: ‘If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.’
“A friend makes more than a dutiful visit each month. A friend is more concerned about helping people than getting credit. A friend cares. A friend loves. A friend listens. A friend reaches out.”
Communicate Heart to Heart
“Often we live side by side but do not communicate heart to heart,” President Monson says. “There are those within the sphere of our own influence who, with outstretched hands, cry out, ‘Is there no balm in Gilead?’”
“I am confident it is the intention of each member of the Church to serve and to help those in need. … How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often has day-to-day living interfered and you’ve left it for others to help, feeling that ‘oh, surely someone will take care of that need.’”
Trust in the Lord
And President Monson encourages us to trust in the Lord as we serve. “Occasionally discouragement may darken our pathway; frustration may be a constant companion. In our ears there may sound the sophistry of Satan as he whispers, ‘you cannot save the world; your small efforts are meaningless. You haven’t time to be concerned for others.’
“Trusting in the Lord, let us turn our heads from such falsehoods and make certain our feet are firmly planted in the path of service and our hearts and souls dedicated to follow the example of the Lord. In moments when the light of resolution dims and when the heart grows faint, we can take comfort from His promise: ‘Be not weary in well-doing. … Out of small things proceedeth that which is great’” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33).