Monday, April 4, 2011

The Joy of Service

It was interesting to me how many talks in General Conference this year covered service, since I have been focusing on that for awhile now. I realized that a lot of things I do as just part of life, others could think of as service. I think that might be the point.

To reference my previous post, I don't think the best way to give advice to someone who is hurting and lonely is to say "forget yourself and serve." At least, not unless you already have a deep history of love and respect between you and the person you are giving advice to. A much better way would be to help them discover how to serve. Because it is a skill, and a very difficult one to master.

For example, say something like, "this might be a strange question, but can you think of anyone you know who needs help?" And if the answer is no, just say something like, "tell you what, you find someone who needs help, and I'll work on your problem." Of course, it sounds a little cheesy here, without context, but I have had this approach come to mind when discussing with the Lord ways that I might serve and/or address issues in my life. In many ways, it is the same thing, but it expresses a great deal more caring and thought for the person who is hurting.

And, rather than telling a person what to do, it encourages them to change their way of thinking and looking at the world.

To me, that is the key to service. Not just to consciously (and, as I pointed out last time, awkwardly) serve, but to become a person who serves without realizing it. That is when the joy comes and the charity can grow.


  1. Awesome.

    And this sentence is key:

    "And, rather than telling a person what to do, it encourages them to change their way of thinking and looking at the world."

    Anyone who's in a position to "counsel" (church leaders, parents, friends, etc) would do well to learn that principle.

  2. Well said. It's tempting to look for a 'silver bullet' response to problems so I don't have to think about them. But to really help someone that's hurting I've got to invest in them. At least enough to think about their specific circumstances and adjust any aid or counsel accordingly.

  3. Becoming someone who serves really is the power and beauty of service for the person providing the service, since it has the potential to engender that same metamorphosis in others - and the circle widens as that process unfolds.


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