"Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."Luke 10:36-37
If there is anything at the core of the Gospel, it is this commandment: to go and show mercy on our brothers and sisters. The Atonement itself was necessary, not only to redeem us, but to show that redemption comes through submission without compulsion. Our submission to the Savior, yes, but more importantly, it comes because a God with all power submitted Himself into our hands.
The more I learn about the Gospel and about God, the more amazed I am at how all the secrets to life, all the keys of the Gospel and exaltation are found in scripture. It's not in the complicated attempt to figure out which part of geography the Nephites occupied, nor is it expounding difficult-to-understand concepts of how the Atonement works, why only men are ordained to the Priesthood, or determining how, exactly, we should follow the prophets. All of those things are mere window dressing.
True religion, the core of spirituality, is ministry. It is extending ourselves, opening our arms, inviting vulnerability by becoming vulnerable. There is nothing that can compare to knowing that you have served in the name and stead of God.
"The only joy that is comparable with the joy of the one receiving the help is the glow that seems to emanate from the one who has given so unselfishly of his time and strength to quietly help someone in need.""Go and Do Thou Likewise" Robert L. Simpson
Living in the Mormon Belt means I witness many people hungry for position in the Church, wanting to serve more and more prominent callings, to make a difference in the Church by being included in councils, wanting to be heard by protesting or being the squeaky wheels. But the key to eternal life and all the power the Father has is not found in callings, nor in effecting change.
"There are those who associate high calling in the Church with guaranteed rights to the blessings of heaven, but I wish to declare without reservation that the ultimate judgment for every man will be on the simplest terms, and most certainly on what each has done to bless other people in a quiet, unassuming way."
I think we will be very surprised to find that those closest to God's throne are the ones we have never heard of here in this life. I hope and pray that I may serve God by serving His people. This isn't just part of the Gospel. It is everything.