Sunday, May 15, 2016

Why Do We Serve

I spoke on "Why Do We Serve" today in the LDS Keene Ward. I had to significantly cut down my talk from what I had prepared, but that probably worked out better for everybody anyway. I'm posting my notes below for anybody that's interested and bolding the parts I actually used. My attention-getting analogy was that of Lightning McQueen finding himself through service.


    1. Daughter scared at tractor tipping
    2. Lightning McQueen
    3. service - building the road, fixing the town

  1. The command to serve
    1. Is it a commandment?
      Mosiah 18 (Baptismal covenant)
      8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
      9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
      10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon
    2. Why is it a commandment?
      1. Omnipotent God not interfering in the affairs of man? No
      2. Maybe He’s too busy? No
      3. Loving Heavenly Father too lazy? No
      4. Commandment given to make us jump through hoops? No
      5. Just wants to give us something to do? No
    3. If ye love me, keep my commandments - an opportunity to show love
      Matthew 25:  “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 gave 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. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, 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 when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

      Mosiah 2:17 …When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.

  1. The world needs it (Primarily the topic of July: Who do we serve)
    1. Refugees
      1. General Conference theme
      2. Lowell, Manchester, Nashua
    2. Family
      1. Looking beyond the mark
    3. Neighbors
      “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom. . . . So often, your acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and small but deliberate deeds!” - Spencer W Kimball

  1. We need it
    1. President Thomas S. Monson,  “What Have I Done for Someone Today?”  (October 2009 General Conference) - “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. “
      “My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness--be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.’
      “That service to which all of us have been called is the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. As He enlists us to His cause, He invites us to draw close to Him. He speaks to you and to me:  ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’”
    2. Relationships - forged through service: marriage, work
      1. President Holland Stake conference talk
      2. Jarnagin, Parker, Service of talking in Keene, chance to bond
    3. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. taught:“The real long term objective of the Welfare Plan is the building of character in the members of the Church, givers and receivers, rescuing all that is finest down deep inside of them, and bringing to flower and fruitage the latent richness of the spirit, which after all is the mission and purpose and reason for being of this Church” (in special meeting of stake presidents, Oct. 2, 1936).
    4. President Hinckley - story of “forget yourself and go to work”
      As a new missionary serving in Preston, England, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley was facing a major trial in his life. He was sick when he arrived in the mission field, and he quickly became discouraged because of the opposition to the missionary work. At a time of deep frustration, Elder Hinckley wrote in a letter to his father that he felt he was wasting his time and his father’s money. A little while later, Elder Hinckley received a reply from his dad. It said, “Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.”
      Earlier that morning during scripture study, Elder Hinckley had read in the Bible, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).
      “With my father’s letter in hand, I went into our bedroom in the house at 15 Wadham Road, where we lived, and got on my knees and made a pledge with the Lord. I covenanted that I would try to forget myself and lose myself in His service”
    5. “In order to aid the Savior in His work, we must be unified in purpose with a resolve to help those in need, to carry one another’s burdens, and to lift the load of those who are suffering. Serving in the Relief Society brings us closer to our goal of returning to our heavenly parents.”
      “Together, as sisters in unity with living prophets, seers, and revelators, with restored priesthood keys, we can walk as one, as disciples, as servants with willing hearts and hands to hasten the work of salvation. As we do so, we will become like the Savior.” —Linda K. Burton
Pushing the rock

There once was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared to him.

The Lord told him He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock explaining that he was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many days he toiled from sunup to sundown; his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man showed signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture - placing thoughts in the man's mind, such as ``Why kill yourself over this?, you're never going to move it!'' or ``Boy, you've been at it a long time and you haven't even scratched the surface!'' etc. giving the man the impression the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn't moving the massive stone.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man and he started to ease up in his efforts. ``Why kill myself?'' he thought. ``I'll just put in my time putting forth just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough.'' And this he did or at least planned on doing until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord.

``Lord,'' he said, ``I have labored hard and long in Your service, putting forth all my strength to do that which You have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock even half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?''

To this the Lord responded compassionately, ``My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you to push against the rock with all your strength and that you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. At least not by yourself. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit. But is this really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your back sinewed and brown. Your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. Yet still, you haven't succeeded in moving the rock; and you come to Me now with a heavy heart and your strength spent. I, my friend will move the rock. Your calling was to be obedient and push, and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom, and this you have done.''

http://owen.sj.ca.us/~rk/LDS/stories/pushrock.html