I had this great plan, if i only went to church once a month, my new branch president wouldn't know who i was therfore i woudn't get a calling, nor would i have to speak in church. Last week, my plan failed me miserably! Not only was i asked to speak in church but they also gave me a calling... Are you kidding me right now. Since i suck at updating my blog, I'll update with my talk since all of you following my blog won't be there to hear it! I apologize for the typos and if it doesn't make sense! I was ridding in the car when i typed this!
I was asked to speak on "What have you done for someone today?" From the Nov. 2009 Ensign. Go read it! It's a great great talk!
Pres. Monson begins his talk by telling us about a man names Dr. Jack McConnell, He was one of 7 children of a Methodist minister and a stay-at-home-mom. Their circumstances were very humble. He recounted that during his childhood, every day as the family sat around the dinner table, his father would ask each on in turn, “And what did you do for someone today? The Children were determined to do a good turn every day so they could report their father that they had helped someone. Dr. McConnell called this exercise his father’s most valuable legacy, for THAT expectation and THOSE words inspired him and his siblings to help others throughout their lives. As they grew and matured, their motivations for providing service changed to an inner desire to help others.
Dr. McConnell went on to have a very distinguished medical career, where he helped in the development of the tuberculosis test, participated in the development of the polio vaccine, the development of Tylenol, and the MRI. He created an organization he calls Volunteers in Medicine, a free medical clinic for the uninsured and poor.
Of course we can’t all be Dr. McConnells with astounding medical careers, however, the needs of others are ever present and each of us can offer our help.
The Apostle Paul counsel’s “by love serve others.” King Benjamin reminds us, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God. “ The Savior taught His disciples, “For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for my sake the same will save it.
I believe Savior is telling us, that unless we lose ourselves in the service of other; there is little purpose to our lives.
President Monson states, “Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others, grow and flourish- and in effect save their lives.
Pres David O McKay said, “Man’s greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the good of others.”
At baptism we promise to “bear one another’s burden, that they may be light.” How many times has your heart been touch by a kind act of service or in witnessing the need of another being fulfilled? Unfortunately there is times when we get caught up in the “thick and thin of things” the busyness of everyday life. I believe if we were to step back and take a good look at what we’re doing we would find that we too often spend most of our time take care of things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things.
I was at work talking with a client the other day. He is a great man, very honest man and an incredible example of service. He has such an amazing outlook and attitude about life. I was complaining about not only getting a calling but also having to talk in sacrament meeting. He asked my topic and a smile appeared on his face I told him, “What have you done for someone today?” He said, I remember that that talk, It opened my mind and my heart.” I didn’t really believe him until he proceeded to tell him about his experience in Haiti. He said, “I was worried about going, I didn’t know what to expect. I was going to be sleeping on the ground, so I was worried that I wasn’t going to sleeping at all, I was worried that my neck was going to hurt and I wasn’t going to be much help. I just wasn’t sure how great of an experience I was really going to have.” I could see the happiness in his face as he continued, “We got there on a Saturday and the destruction was unbelievable, it left me speechless. I instantly became overwhelmed with the thought that we could not help these people. There was no way we could begin to make a dent in the damage that had been done. As we began to work building houses and teaching the natives how to build better and stronger buildings, I found so much joy. I slept fine, I wasn’t worn out and exhausted as I expected to be, my neck didn’t hurt, and it was a great experience. I learned that I didn’t need to fix all of Haiti; I needed to help those I could, and find joy in that! We can’t save everyone; we just save those we can.”
Again not all of us can fly to Haiti and reconstruct home and rebuild cities, but there are people who are suffering with illness, there are those who are suffering loss of family members or friends, and people who are struggling with loss of faith. We have the opportunity to touch the lives of others and help reconstruct and rebuild their faith in our Father in Heaven and our Savior.
Pres. Monson tell of when he was asked what would he consider the ideal gift that the members worldwide could give him, he replied, “ Find someone who is having a hard time, or is ill, or lonely and do something for him or her.” He later said, “I was overwhelmed when I received hundreds of cards and letters from members around the world telling me of how they fulfilled that birthday wish. The acts of service ranged from assembling humanitarian kits to yard work.” I’ll share a few with you, a small child wrote, “My grandpa had a stroke, and I held his hand.” From an 8 yr old girl: “My sister and I served my mom and family by cleaning the toy closets, my mom was so happy.” And 11 yr old girl” There was a family in my ward that didn’t have a lot of money, I watched their 3 little girls for free.” From a 4 yr old boy, “My dad is gone for army training for a few weeks. My special job is to give my mom hugs and kisses.” A 9 yr old girl, “I picked strawberries for my great grandma.” Another 9yr old, “I played with a lonely kid.” From an 11 year old boy: “ I went to a lady’s house and asked her questions and sang to her, it felt good to visit her, she was happy because she never get visitors.
Mother Teresa taught, “One thing will always secure heaven for us, the acts of charity and kindness with which we have filled our lives. We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
We are surround by those who are in need of great love, of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness, be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers, we are the Lord’s hand upon the with the mandate to serve and lift his children. He is dependent on each of us.
In closing I was to share with you a story, I’m sure you’ve heard it several times, but it’s a great tale of truth. It’s the starfish story.
Once upon a time, there was a wise man that used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
On day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day so he walked to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
I bear witness to the power of service. Unfortunately, I have realized that I spend far too much time on things that are unimportant things and I need to put more of an effort in to the needs of others. Fortunately I have been on the receiving end of small, yet momentous acts of kindness. I have incredible people in my life serving me every day in way they are not even aware.
The Savior needs our help, he enlists us to his cause, he invites us to draw closer to him, if we follow in the footsteps our Savior and ask ourselves, What have I done for someone today, we will find joy beyond our comprehension.