Earlier this week, I was having one of those days. You know the ones. I was tired and grumpy and all-around feeling pretty useless and unaccomplished. There are a lot of reasons for that, and, certainly, I could have shifted my perspective on some things to feel better. But regardless, I came toward the end of the day feeling pretty low.
Then my neighbors brought me cookies.
It was completely out of the blue, but it brightened my day. I couldn’t feel forgotten anymore. Someone had remembered me, and I had to consider just how aware God is of me.
I love stories of service like this. Small acts that don’t always seem like a big deal, but that carry a lot of love to people who need it. Efforts that have God written all over them.
The Purpose of Serving
We know that service is important. It builds communities, supports people in need, and helps you grow and change to be more like Christ. When we serve God, we are working to build His kingdom and gather His children. Serving others and serving God are some of the best things we can do in our lives.
King Benjamin taught his people:
14 And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day.
15 Yet, my brethren, I have not done these things that I might boast, neither do I tell these things that thereby I might accuse you; but I tell you these things that ye may know that I can answer a clear conscience before God this day.
16 Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God.
17 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.Mosiah 2:14-17
We are taught in the gospel that we need to serve God. But sometimes we might struggle to see when or how we can do that. King Benjamin gives us a good place to start.
We may also wonder if we’re doing enough in our service. Do we give people the service they need? Do we give God our service openly?
Generosity to God
Last week, in the first article of this series, we looked at how we can give our time to God generously. Service was actually one of the things on that list, so today we’re building onto that further.
But first, let’s review what it means to be generous toward God. “Generous” means giving liberally or abundantly, and I see that as challenging us a bit. Generosity to me also seems to imply that we have to stretch a bit to give.
So we’re looking at ways to give to God a bit more than we have in the past. This shouldn’t be overwhelming—remember, small steps are still progress.
Bringing these thoughts of service and generosity together, ask yourself, “How am I serving God? What more could I be doing?”
These questions help me see that I can be doing more to serve God. But they also help me see that I might be serving God already in ways I hadn’t before considered. Sometimes we’re doing better than we think we are, but we can still keep growing and improving from there.
6 Opportunities to Serve God
Clearly, we can serve God by serving others. But let’s break down how we can serve God generously with some specific ideas:
1. Share the Gospel
This was on last week’s list as well. Sharing the gospel requires time of us, and that time is given to God. But sharing the gospel is also service to God and those around us. In the Doctrine and Covenants, it states:
11 And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart—
12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—
13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—
14 These should then be attended to with great earnestness.
15 Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.Doctrine and Covenants 123:11-15
Sharing the gospel in everyday conversation, on social media, or by serving a mission helps those around us to find truth that they’ve never had a chance to know. And it’s service to God as well because He wants His children gathered back to Him, and we are in a position to help Him reach His children.
2. Remind Someone that You’re Thinking of Them
This is what my neighbors did this week. By going out of their way to stop by, they let me know that I wasn’t forgotten by them or by God. So many people need this reaching out, and while we often need to receive this service ourselves, we can also give it wherever possible. God loves and serves all of His children, but He likes to do so by leading us to serve each other. Our responsiveness to our God is a service to Him, and also contributes to the building of His kingdom.
3. Mourn with Those Who Are Hurting
Life brings a lot of sorrow in with it. But as part of our covenants with God, we’re directed to lift others and mourn with them. There’s likely not a single person on this earth who doesn’t mourn something. We all lose loved ones. We all lose opportunities, dreams, health, and security.
We serve God as we learn to serve and love the way He does.
4. Love Your Family
Families can be complicated; there’s no getting around that. But when we do all we can to love our families (biological and/or otherwise), we open our own hearts and the hearts of those in our families. We learn to become united and recognize the relationships we can have for eternity with each other and with our Father in Heaven. And when we understand the need for strong family relationships in eternity, we are better equipped to gather God’s children to Him, both in the world around us and in the temple as we do work for the dead.
5. Obey God and His Prophets
Our Father in Heaven does not give us commandments just to keep control over us. In fact, He’s given us agency so that we can choose if we obey Him or not. But when we choose to obey Him and His commandments, we’re serving Him in both large and small ways each day.
This is equally true when we obey the direction of the prophets. We will not always understand the reasons why a prophet gives the direction he does, but we can know that the prophet is backed by the Lord. God guides and supports His prophets. Obeying them is the same as obeying God, and giving God our willing obedience is one of the best ways we can serve Him.
6. Actively Love Our Savior Jesus Christ and Our Father in Heaven
God does so much for us every single day. Our Savior sacrificed His life because of His great love for us. When we remember our God and Savior and work to build close relationships with Them, it becomes easier to want to serve Them.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.1 John 4:9-11 (KJV)
Loving God changes us. Experiencing His love for us heals and motivates us. When we have this relationship with Him, we are better prepared to serve Him and others in every way.