Friday, December 12, 2008

Serving God by Serving Men by Jason Whelchel

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."1 When I read this scripture of Mosiah speaking to the Nephites near the beginning of his great speech on repentance, I had no doubts in my mind that he was a chosen prophet of God. Mosiah spent his entire rule serving the people of Nephi in any way he could, instead of having them serve him in whatever way he desired. In fact, the word "serve" comes from the Latin servire, which means "slave." So, in a sense, Mosiah may have been king of the people of nephi, but he spent his entire rule being a figurative slave to his subjects, helping the people however he could. In this way, Mosiah set a great example of the ideal shepherd king, who always looked out for his subjects and protected them with all his heart, mind, and strength. As the Savior once said, "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant."2 I feel that Mosiah was an excellent example of who we should strive to be like as member missionaries, serving Heavenly Father by serving others.

Mosiah's son Ammon was also a great man who served the Lord in the service of others-more specifically, the Lamanites. During his missionary travels, Ammon became a servant to King Lamoni and protected the king's sheep faithfully, thus earning favor with Lamoni, who was astonished by the Nephite's loyalty to him and his people despite the way they had initially treated him. After Ammon had defended the king's sheep against the Lamanites, Lamoni had called for him to inquire whether he was the Great Spirit. Upon arriving, Ammon asked Lamoni one simple question: "What wilt thou that I should do for thee, O king?"3 Ammon's willingness to serve so stunned the Lamanite king that he was unable to answer for an hour, because he didn't have a clue what to say to him. Once, I had an English professor back in San Antonio named Dr. Tsacalis, who despite not being of the LDS faith, was eager to serve his students in any way he could. During class, he always found time to talk one-on-one with each student in the room to discuss our writing and what we could do to improve. He also took time out of his own schedule to hold evening study group sessions where classmates could get together and critique each others' work, giving constructive criticism and ideas on how to make our ideas clearer. Because of his services and kindness, a majority of our class managed to pass the course with A's. We should all strive to be like Ammon, who served others righteously and patiently in order to bring the gospel to their hearts and convince them to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ.

Another example of one who made a living of serving others was the Prophet Joseph Smith. As the one to usher in the last dispensation, Joseph made it a lifetime commitment to serve his fellow men in bringing the truth of the restored gospel unto their hearts. In his lifetime, Joseph Smith not only restored the true Church of Jesus Christ, but also helped it to spread beyond the American borders and into England. These acts show how much Brother Joseph loved to serve, and thus provided a great example to his children and the other members of the Church. Elder Russell C. Taylor once said, "Fathers and mothers, with your strength of example you will influence your sons and daughters for eternity with examples of loving, uncomplaining service far more convincingly by doing than only by saying. Show your children a life of love for them by a life of love and service to the Church and to our Father’s children in spiritual need."4 Being a parent myself, I know that it is absolutely necessary for us to teach our children by example, showing them that living a life dedicated to the service of others and, as a result, Heavenly Father, is an integral part of our eternal salvation.

Finally, the most important exemplar of service in the mortal world was Jesus Christ, the Savior. He spent his entire mortal ministry serving the people, no matter their social or economic class. He tended to the sick, the needy, the meek, and the lowly most of all, serving his Father by helping those spiritual children that were in need of love and guidance. In Luke 10, Jesus explains to a lawyer how people should serve their fellow men in the parable of the Good Samaritan. According to modern revelation, "He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all."5 This scripture speaks of the Savior himself, who was at the same time the greatest and the least in the kingdom of God. He was the King, and yet he was also the slave, serving all those he ruled over, like Mosiah of old. A perfect example of his service was when he washed the feet of the Apostles. A job traditionally performed by a slave/servant, the Savior performed the menial task himself, showing by example how the Apostles should serve mankind in their ministries. If we all strive to be more Christ-like in our service to others, then I know surely that we will be in the service of Heavenly Father, for that is what he commands us to do.

In closing, we have learned through our scripture study and by the teachings of the prophets and General Authorities of the Church that service is one of God's most enduring commandments. In serving others, we in turn make each others' burdens lighter and comfort one another as Alma taught at the waters of Mormon. A prime example I would like to share is the similitude in the formation of diamonds. We all know that diamond, the hardest material on Earth, is formed of carbon, which by itself is usually a pretty fragile element. However, extreme heat and pressure compound the carbon into the impervious crystalline form of a diamond. Only, in our case, faith and service take the place of the heat and pressure. By faithfully serving our brethen as the prophets through the ages have done, we can become more like the Savior and spiritually progress towards meeting our Father in Heaven with our heads held high. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and that the prophets were, like Jesus, both the greatest of their kingdoms and the least, and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Works Cited
1- Mosiah 2:17
2- Matthew 23:11
3- Alma 18:14
4- Taylor, Russell C. "The Joy of Service." Ensign. Nov. 1984, 23-24
5- D&C 50:26


Alisha Nelson Wheeer said...

I really enjoyed the examples you gave of great people who have served our church. Your testimony of those men really shined through. I was particularly impress with what you had to say about Joseph Smith.

D-Weezy said...

I love Joseph Smith and for the man he was and for all the incredible things he did to restore the gospel. He really was the ultimate servant, save Jesus Christ. Thanks for the great analogies.

Valerie said...

I loved your reference that slave and serve come from the same root. Such an interesting thing that really magnifies that truth that a leader must serve. Well done.

Savanna Stradling said...

I loved this just by your title. I think that you are certainly right that when we werve others we are serving the Lord. And that is such a neat thing to think about! Thank you for your testimony displayed through your blog!

Ashley Wilson said...

I love how you used different people in different circumstances to illustrate your point about serving others. Thank you :-)

Cynthia Hallen said...

You write well. The points are clear, and each paragraph guides the reader to the next idea. Thank you for the examples of Christian service.