The Savior said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). This principle is something I have strived to teach my children both at home and out in the world. I believe that the one true key to happiness is to labor for the happiness of those around us.
In our family prayers, some often used phrases are “help us to find ways of serving others” or “give us opportunities to serve those around us.” Do we really want to have to go out of our way to serve others? Are we really looking for opportunities to serve? For myself, I have to say, yes (at least the majority of the time, I do have my bad days and fall short more than I’d like to admit). I always hope my children are doing the same and of course I do see them go out of there way to help others. I know they don’t do this for the approval of others, but because they truly want to live to be Disciples of Christ.
A few weeks ago my 16 year old son had the opportunity to go to a 5 day youth conference (EFY) put on by our church. This is something he looks forward to every year. We didn’t check to see what time registration was and he was a few hours early, so to kill a little time he went to Wal-mart to wander around. As he was walking in, he saw an older woman who was struggling to get out of her car. He ran up to her and asked if there was anything he could do to help. She asked him if he would get her a motorized shopping cart and he ran inside to get one for her. After he reached her car again he helped her into the cart and bent down to give her a hug. He stayed with her during her shopping to help her reach high things on the shelves. Once she was finished, he put her groceries in her car and he helped her back into the car. She gave him another hug and teary-eyed thanked him for being such a good boy.
Now, I don’t want you to think that my boy shouts from the roof tops when he does a good deed, in fact, I didn’t hear about this from my son at all. About a week later, I was talking to my younger daughter who also attended the conference and I asked if she had had any experiences that she wanted to share with me. She said that during their first devotional the counselors were talking about serving others and how some people do it for the glory of men and others do it to glorify God. Then out of the blue, they called my son to come up front. Apparently, some of the counselors where also at Wal-mart early that morning and were paying close attention to my son’s actions. They were thrilled again when they saw him register at the conference. They called him up front (about 500 kids attended) and shared with the attendees what they observed my son do. After which, one of the counselors read some scriptures relating to service where the Lord speaks to one of his servants and whenever the Lord spoke the name of the servant, the counselor replaced the name in the scripture and used my sons name (I wish my son had taken down the scripture but I’ll try to figure out what it was!). My boy was overcome and wept.
The Savior is our perfect example of service. Even though He came to earth as the Son of God, he humbly served everyone. Jesus used a parable to teach the importance of service. In the parable, he speaks of his return to the earth and of separating the righteous from the wicked. To the righteous He says: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye game me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” (Matthew 25:34-36)
The righteous didn’t understand and asked: “Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or wen saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?” (Matthew 25:37-39)
The Lord answers, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethen, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
I love that! We are here to serve one another – to be the Lords hands…. to say kind words, do good deeds and to gladden the hearts of our brothers and sisters. There is no one here on this beautiful planet that isn’t a VIP to God and His Son! They love each and every one of us the same and we are obligated to serve others as Christ served. He gave ALL He had for us and if He wants us to love each other, isn’t it the very least we can do!
Lastly, in Galatians 5:14 it says: … “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” And, John 13:34: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”