How We Can Serve
Once again there are tremendous resources for this lesson found in Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:... (the old Priesthood/Relief Society manuals). This includes Joseph F. Smith, Chapter 38, Heber J. Grant, Chapter 15, David O. McKay, Chapter 19, Spencer W. Kimball, Chapter 8, and Harold B. Lee, Chapter 3. These can all be found by going to the new “lds.org” then click on “Go to Classic LDS.org” (lower left corner), then click on “Gospel Library” then “Lessons” then “Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society.” The manuals are found at the bottom of this page.
In the second paragraph of this section we read, “Service is helping others who need assistance” (p. 161). Concerning this idea, President Hinckley stated the following:
It is a responsibility divinely laid upon each of us to bear one another’s burdens, to strengthen one another, to encourage one another, to lift one another, to look for the good in one another, and to emphasize that good (CES Fireside, Mar. 6, 1994, 7).
President James E. Faust quoted a scripture found in Chapter 30 (p. 173) and taught the following concerning service:
As the Savior Himself said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (Matthew 10:39).”
Most of us don’t demonstrate our unselfishness in such a dramatic way, but for each of us unselfishness can mean being the right person at the right time in the right place to render service. Almost every day brings opportunities to perform unselfish acts for others. Such acts are unlimited and can be as simple as a kind word, a helping hand, or a gracious smile (Ensign, Nov. 2002, 19).
President Faust also added the importance of service in church callings:
I wish to testify that the greatest fulfilling service to be rendered by any of us is in the service of the Master. In the various pursuits of my life, none has been as rewarding or beneficial as responding to the calls for service in this Church. Each has been different. Each one has brought a separate blessing” (Ensign, Nov. 2002, 19).
In this section we read, “All of us must be willing to serve, no matter what our income, age, or social position” *p. 161). President McKay taught:
The will of God is [that you] serve your fellowmen, benefiting them, making this world better for your having lived in it. Christ gave his all to teach us that principle. And he made the statement: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40). This is the message God has given to us. This Church is God’s Church, which is so perfectly organized that every man and every woman, every child, may have an opportunity to do something good for somebody else. It is the obligation of our priesthood members, it is the responsibility of the auxiliary organizations and of every member to serve and do God’s will. If we do, and the more we do it, the more we shall become convinced that it is the work of God, because we are testing it. Then, by doing the will of God, we get to know God and get close to him and to feel that life eternal is ours. We shall feel to love humanity everywhere, and we can cry out with the apostles of old, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:14) (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 180-1).
This section teaches the following important idea:
We can do small and large acts of service. We should never fail to help someone because we are unable to do great things (p. 161).
Concerning this idea, President Kimball declared:
In the Doctrine and Covenants we read about how important it is to “… succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5). So often, our 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 from small but deliberate deeds! (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 82).
Why the Savior Want Us to Serve Others
The first question asked in this section is, “Why does the Lord want us to serve others?” (p. 163). President Kimball had a wonderful idea about this:
The abundant life noted in the scriptures [see :John 10:10] is the spiritual sum that is arrived at by the multiplying of our service to others and by investing our talents in service to God and to man. Jesus said, you will recall, that on the first two commandments hang all the law and the prophets, and those two commandments involve developing our love of God, of self, of our neighbors, and of all men [see Matthew 22:36-40]. There can be no real abundance in life that is not connected with the keeping and the carrying out of those two great commandments (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 86).
In the first paragraph of this section is one of my favorite quotes, a wonderful one from President Kimball (p. 163). It may be helpful to have in context the rest of the quote:
We need to help those we seek to serve to know for themselves that God not only loves them, but he is ever mindful of them and of their needs. …
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. The people of the Church need each other’s strength, support, and leadership in a community of believers as an enclave of disciples (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 81-2).
The manual states, “Throughout our lives all of us depend on others for help” (p. 163). Concerning this, President McKay stressed:
It has been said that “the race of mankind would perish if they ceased to aid one another.” One man, from whom I quote, says that “from the time that the mother binds the child’s head until the moment that some kind assistant wipes the death-damp from the brow of the dying, we cannot exist without mutual help.” … The Church, with all its quorums and organizations, is God’s plan for rendering mutual aid (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 181).
President Harold B. Lee taught some of why the “Savior Wants Us to Serve Others”:
Now, keep in mind this further thought, that the Lord has told us time and again that the objective of all his work is spiritual. Do you remember what he said in the 29th section of the Doctrine and Covenants?
“Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created” (D&C 29:34).
… Do you let everything you do be with an eye single to the glory of that individual, the ultimate triumph of his spiritual over his physical? The whole purpose of the Lord in life is to so help us and direct us that at the end of our lives we are prepared for a celestial inheritance. Is not that it? Can you give every basket of food you give, can you give every service that you render with that great objective in mind? Is this the way to do it in order to help my brother or my sister to better attain and lay hold upon his celestial inheritance? That is the objective that the Lord sets.
The welfare program has a great significance in the Lord’s work. We must take care of [people’s] material needs and give them a taste of the kind of salvation they do not have to die to get before we can lift their thinking to a higher plane. Therein is the purpose of the Lord’s welfare program that He has had in His Church in every dispensation from the very beginning. It did not have its inception in 1936. It began when the Lord commenced to take care of His people on this earth.
When a home is shattered because of the needs of food and shelter and clothing and fuel, … the first thing we have to do is to build a sense of security, a sense of material well-being, before we can begin to lift the family to the plane where we can instill in them faith. That is the beginning, but unless we have the objective of what we do as to the building of faith, the mere giving of material aid fails. Now, we must understand that, if we just try to build faith without first filling their stomachs and seeing that they are properly clothed and properly housed and properly warmed, perhaps we will fail in the building of faith (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 167-8).
In this section, King Benjamin is quoted. President McKay elaborated on this:
Are you willing to serve? Do you have the vision King Benjamin had when he said, “… when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God”? (Mosiah 2:17) True Christianity is love in action. There is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for one’s fellowmen.
With faith, with kindness, let your heart be filled with the desire to serve all mankind. The spirit of the gospel comes from service in the good of others (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 181-2).
We Receive Blessings through Service
The question asked at the beginning of this section is, “What blessings do we receive through service to others? (p. 164). Apparently happiness is one of them.
President Lorenzo Snow proclaimed:
When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than your self; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you and everything seems illuminated (Conference Report, 6 April 1899, pp. 2-3).
Concerning happiness through service, President McKay added:
Happiness is the end, really, of our existence. That happiness comes most effectively through service to our fellow men.
All mankind desire happiness. Many also strive sincerely to make the most and best of themselves. Surprisingly few, however, realize that a sure guide to such achievement may be found in the following declaration by Jesus of Nazareth: “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: And whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” [Matthew 16:25]. This significant passage contains a secret more worthy of possession than fame or dominion, something more valuable than all the wealth of the world.
It is a principle the application of which promises to supplant discouragement and gloom with hope and gladness; to fill life with contentment and peace everlasting. This being true its acceptance would indeed be a boon today to this distracted, depression-ridden world. Why, then, do men and nations ignore a thing so precious?
Is the truth in the paradoxical statement, losing one’s life to find it, so elusive that mankind cannot grasp it? Or is it so in conflict with the struggle for existence that men consider it impractical?
Specifically stated, this law is, “We live our lives most completely when we strive to make the world better and happier.” The law of pure nature, survival of the fittest, is self-preservation at the sacrifice of all else; but in contrast to this the law of true spiritual life is, deny self for the good of others (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 182).
President McKay further emphasized happiness as well as spiritual growth through servece:
There is more spirituality expressed in giving than in receiving. The greatest spiritual blessing comes from helping another. If you want to be miserable, just harbor hate for a brother, and if you want to hate, just do your brother some injury. But if you would be happy, render a kind service, make somebody else happy.
Let sincere men and women the world over unite in earnest effort to supplant feelings of selfishness, hatred, animosity, greed, by the law of service to others, and thereby promote the peace and happiness of mankind (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 183).
Concerning service and happiness, President Heber J. Grant also added the following:
The real secret of happiness in life and the way in which to prepare ourselves for the hereafter is service (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, 143).
This statement also indicates that service is going to be big in the “hereafter.”
President Grant then added:
I am converted to the thought that the way to peace and happiness in life is by giving service. Service is the true key, I believe, to happiness, because when we perform labors like missionary work, all the rest of our lives we can look back upon our accomplishments in the mission field. When we perform any acts of kindness, they bring a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure into our hearts, while ordinary amusements pass away (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, 143).
President Kimball also added to the blessing of happiness through service:
If we seek true happiness, we must expend our energies for purposes larger than our own self-interests. Let us ponder prayerfully how we may effectively and lovingly give service to our families, neighbors, and fellow Saints (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 87).
President Kimball adds that personal growth comes through service:
Service to others deepens and sweetens this life while we are preparing to live in a better world. It is by serving that we learn how to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves! In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves! [See Matthew 10:39.]
Not only do we “find” ourselves in terms of acknowledging divine guidance in our lives, but the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find! (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 87).
Concerning this idea of personal growth, President Heber J. Grant also explained:
Every kind word spoken gives you greater ability to speak another. Every act of assistance rendered by you, through the knowledge that you possess, to aid one of your fellows, gives you greater ability to aid the next one. Good acts grow upon a person. I have sometimes thought that many men, judging from their utter lack of kindness and of a disposition to aid others, imagined that if they were to say or do a kind thing, it would destroy their capacity to perform a kind act or say a kind word in the future. If you have a granary full of grain, and you give away a sack or two, there remain that many less in your granary, but if you perform a kind act or add words of encouragement to one in distress, who is struggling along in the battle of life, the greater is your capacity to do this in the future. Don’t go through life with your lips sealed against words of kindness and encouragement, nor your hearts sealed against performing labors for another. Make a motto in life: always try and assist someone else to carry his burden (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, 143).
President Grant also added:
It is a God-given law that in proportion to the service we give, in proportion to what we do in this Church and out of it—what we are willing to sacrifice for the Church and for those to whom we owe our loyalty outside of Church activity—we shall grow in the grace of God and in the love of God, and we shall grow in accomplishing the purposes of our being placed here on the earth (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, 144).
Concerning spirituality and service, President Kimball also declared:
As the contrasts between the ways of the world and the ways of God become sharpened by circumstance, the faith of the members of the Church will be tried even more severely. One of the most vital things we can do is to express our testimonies through service, which will, in turn, produce spiritual growth, greater commitment, and a greater capacity to keep the commandments. …
There is great security in spirituality, and we cannot have spirituality without service! (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 87).
In this section, we are promised that through service, “We become less selfish” (p. 164). Concerning the powerful example the Savior gave us concerning this issue, President Kimball commented:
[The Savior] gave himself for his followers. … He was ever conscious of doing what was right and of meeting the real and true needs of those he served.
He put himself and his own needs second and ministered to others beyond the call of duty, tirelessly, lovingly, effectively. So many of the problems in the world today spring from selfishness and self-centeredness in which too many make harsh demands of life and others in order to meet their demands.
The more we understand what really happened in the life of Jesus of Nazareth in Gethsemane and on Calvary, the better able we will be to understand the importance of sacrifice and selflessness in our lives (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 81).
President Kimball then stressed how we can apply this example in our own lives:
None of us should become so busy in our formal Church assignments that there is no room left for quiet Christian service to our neighbors (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 82).
President Grant also added the following about happiness and selfishness:
The true key to happiness in life is to labor for the happiness of others. I pity the selfish man who has never experienced the joy which comes to those who receive the thanks and gratitude of the people whom they may have aided in the struggle of life (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, 143).
President McKay discussed one of the blessings of service that came to the disciples by knowing and following the Savior:
Just think! The only reason the world knows anything about them [Jesus’ Apostles] is because having met the Savior, they made Him their guide in life. If they hadn’t, nobody now would know that such men had ever lived. They would have lived and died and been forgotten just as thousands of other men in their day lived and died and nobody knows or cares anything about them; just as thousands and thousands are living today, wasting their time and energy in useless living, choosing the wrong kind of men for their ideals, turning their footsteps into the road of Pleasure and Indulgence instead of the road of Service. Soon they will reach the end of their journey in life, and nobody can say that the world is any better for their having lived in it. At the close of each day such men leave their pathway as barren as they found it—they plant no trees to give shade to others, nor rose-bushes to make the world sweeter and brighter to those who follow—no kind deeds, no noble service—just a barren, unfruitful, desert-like pathway, strewn, perhaps, with thorns and thistles.
Not so with the disciples who chose Jesus for their Guide. Their lives are like gardens of roses from which the world may pluck beautiful flowers forever (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 184).
President Grant indicated that the blessings of service may be long term, but are definite:
One can never tell what will be the result of faithful service rendered, nor do we know when it will come back to us or to those with whom we are associated. The reward may not come at the time, but in dividends later. I believe we will never lose anything in life by giving service, by making sacrifices, and doing the right thing (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, 143).
Opportunities to Serve
In this section is stated, “We have many opportunities to serve our neighbors, our friends, and even strangers” (p. 165). President David O. McKay outlined a broad mission of the Church concerning service the Church can provide to society. Fifty years later, his council is as fresh as if President Monson were speaking:
Many citizens are deeply troubled over the increase in crime, the high divorce and illegitimacy rates, the increasing incidents of venereal diseases, the scandals in high office, and other symptoms of private and public dishonesty.
Is there a moral breakdown? Is there cause for alarm? The world is all about us, and the statistics we read about are frightening indeed, and they are a necessary warning. …
The mission of the Church is to minimize and, if possible, eliminate these evils from the world. It is evident that we are in need of a unifying force to eliminate these evils. Such a uniting force, such an ideal is the gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. It explains man’s life and its purpose and has within it the vital saving elements, noble ideals, and spiritual uplift for which the heart of man is yearning.
Right-thinking, upright men and women everywhere are desirous of eliminating from our communities evil elements that are constantly disintegrating society—the liquor problem with its drunkenness, the narcotic habit with all its attendant evils, immorality, poverty, etc. The Church is seeking to make both home and community environment better and brighter.
Let us here and now express gratitude for the Church of Jesus Christ with quorums and auxiliaries specially organized to combat these evils. It was established by divine revelation of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Its glorious mission is to proclaim the truth of the restored gospel; to uplift society that people may mingle more amicably one with another; to create in our communities a wholesome environment in which our children may find strength to resist temptation and encouragement to strive for cultural and spiritual attainment.
The Church, established by divine inspiration to an unlearned youth, offers to the world the solution of all its social problems. It has stood the test of the first century successfully. In the midst of brilliant concepts of men in this twentieth century, who seek conscientiously for social reforms and who peer blindly into the future to read the destiny of man, the Church shines forth as the sun in the heavens, around which other luminaries revolve as satellites of minor importance. Truly it is the creator and preserver of man’s highest values. Its real task, the redemption of our human world. “It is the light of truth radiating everywhere in the world, and this light cannot fail to reveal to man, sooner or later, the divine ideals by which man should live.”
The Church, with its complete organization, offers service and inspiration to all. … Instead of taking men out of the world, it seeks to develop perfect, Godlike men in the midst of society, and through them to solve the problems of society (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 26-27).
Concerning service to “strangers” as mentioned above, here is a wonderful example from the life of President Kimball:
A young mother on an overnight flight with a two-year-old daughter was stranded by bad weather in Chicago airport without food or clean clothing for the child and without money. She was … pregnant and threatened with miscarriage, so she was under doctor’s instructions not to carry the child unless it was essential. Hour after hour she stood in one line after another, trying to get a flight to Michigan. The terminal was noisy, full of tired, frustrated, grumpy passengers, and she heard critical references to her crying child and to her sliding her child along the floor with her foot as the line moved forward. No one offered to help with the soaked, hungry, exhausted child.
Then, the woman later reported, “Someone came towards us and with a kindly smile said, ‘Is there something I could do to help you?’ With a grateful sigh I accepted his offer. He lifted my sobbing little daughter from the cold floor and lovingly held her to him while he patted her gently on the back. He asked if she could chew a piece of gum. When she was settled down, he carried her with him and said something kindly to the others in the line ahead of me, about how I needed their help. They seemed to agree and then he went up to the ticket counter [at the front of the line] and made arrangements with the clerk for me to be put on a flight leaving shortly. He walked with us to a bench, where we chatted a moment, until he was assured that I would be fine. He went on his way. About a week later I saw a picture of Apostle Spencer W. Kimball and recognized him as the stranger in the airport.”
Several years later, President Kimball received a letter that read, in part:
“Dear President Kimball:
“I am a student at Brigham Young University. I have just returned from my mission in Munich, West Germany. I had a lovely mission and learned much. …
“I was sitting in priesthood meeting last week, when a story was told of a loving service which you performed some twenty-one years ago in the Chicago airport. The story told of how you met a young pregnant mother with a … screaming child, in … distress, waiting in a long line for her tickets. She was threatening miscarriage and therefore couldn’t lift her child to comfort her. She had experienced four previous miscarriages, which gave added reason for the doctor’s orders not to bend or lift.
“You comforted the crying child and explained the dilemma to the other passengers in line. This act of love took the strain and tension off my mother. I was born a few months later in Flint, Michigan.
“I just want to thank you for your love. Thank you for your example!” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 79-80).
In the manual we read:
If we have special talents, we should use them to serve others. God blesses us with talents and abilities to help improve the lives of others (p. 165).
In conjunction with this idea, President Kimball taught:
All men have been given special powers and within certain limitations should develop those powers, give vent to their own imaginations, and not become rubber stamps. They should develop their own talents and abilities and capacities to their limit and use them to build up the kingdom.
The Church member who has the attitude of leaving it to others will have much to answer for. There are many who say: “My wife does the Church work!” Others say: “I’m just not the religious kind,” as though it does not take effort for most people to serve and do their duty. But God has endowed us with talents and time, with latent abilities and with opportunities to use and develop them in his service. He therefore expects much of us, his privileged children.
In the account of the barren fig tree (see Matt. 21:19) the unproductive tree was cursed for its barrenness. What a loss to the individual and to humanity if the vine does not grow, the tree does not bear fruit, the soul does not expand through service! One must live, not only exist; he must do, not merely be; he must grow, not just vegetate. We must use our talents in behalf of our fellowmen, rather than burying them in the tomb of a self-centered life (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 83).
President James E. Faust also added:
The Savior reminds us, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39). One of life’s paradoxes is that a person who approaches everything with a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude may acquire money, property, and land, but in the end will lose the fulfillment and the happiness that a person enjoys who shares his talents and gifts generously with others (Ensign, Nov. 2002, 19).
In this section we read, “In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there is no professional clergy, so the lay members must carry on all of the activities of the Church” (p. 165). President McKay acknowledged this and thanked us and then stated a wonderful principle of service not mentioned in the lesson:
There come to mind some … to whom I wish to express gratitude. … They are the men and women throughout the entire Church who are contributing of their time and means to the advancement of the truth—not just in teaching, but in genuine service in many ways. Some of these are struggling to make their own living. Some of them are wealthy men and women who have retired and who count their wealth in millions. … God bless those who are rendering such service, and bless you all, for I think we can say for the Church, “We are striving to be one, Father, as thou and thy Son are one (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 181).
In conference, when he was a counselor in the First Presidency, President Monson quoted another counselor in a First Presidency in a wonderful talk on Priesthood and service:
President Stephen L Richards…declared, “I like to define the Priesthood in terms of service and I frequently call it ‘the perfect plan of service.’ I do so because it seems to me that it is only through the utilization of the divine power conferred on men that they may ever hope to realize the full import and vitality of this endowment. It is an instrument of service … and the man who fails to use it is apt to lose it, for we are plainly told by revelation that he who neglects it ‘shall not be counted worthy to stand (Ensign, May 2005, 54).
I also love the quote from Willard Richards concerning members of the first Relief Society:
…with the resources they will have at command, they will fly to the relief of the stranger; they will pour in oil and wine to the wounded heart of the distressed; they will dry up the tears of the orphan and make the widow’s heart to rejoice (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 452).
Jesus Christ Is the Perfect Example of Service
Speaking of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, as mentioned in this section, President McKay explained:
What an example of service to those great servants, followers of the Christ! He that is greatest among you, let him be least. So we sense the obligation to be of greater service to the membership of the Church, to devote our lives to the advancement of the kingdom of God on earth (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 184).
In conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave a terrific talk entitled “Why Do We Serve?” In it he lists six reasons, from okay to the greatest. The first five are hope of earthly reward, to obtain good companionship, fear of punishment, sense of duty, and hope of eternal reward. Then the “greatest”:
The last motive I will discuss is, in my opinion, the highest reason of all. In its relationship to service, it is what the scriptures call “a more excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31).
“Charity is the pure love of Christ” (Moro. 7:47). The Book of Mormon teaches us that this virtue is “the greatest of all” (Moro. 7:46). The Apostle Paul affirmed and illustrated that truth in his great teaching about the reasons for service:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. …
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, … and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
We know from these inspired words that even the most extreme acts of service—such as giving all of our goods to feed the poor—profit us nothing unless our service is motivated by the pure love of Christ.
If our service is to be most efficacious, it must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children. The Savior applied that principle in the Sermon on the Mount, in which he commanded us to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us (See Matt. 5:44). He explained the purpose of that commandment as follows:
“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
“And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Matt. 5:46-47).
This principle—that our service should be for the love of God and the love of fellowmen rather than for personal advantage or any other lesser motive—is admittedly a high standard. The Savior must have seen it so, since he joined his commandment for selfless and complete love directly with the ideal of perfection. The very next verse of the Sermon on the Mount contains this great commandment: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
This principle of service is reaffirmed in the fourth section of the Doctrine and Covenants:
“Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day” (D&C 4:2).
We learn from this command that it is not enough to serve God with all of our might and strength. He who looks into our hearts and knows our minds demands more than this. In order to stand blameless before God at the last day, we must also serve him with all our heart and mind.
Service with all of our heart and mind is a high challenge for all of us. Such service must be free of selfish ambition. It must be motivated only by the pure love of Christ (Ensign, Nov 1984, 12).