Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why Do We Serve?

I think a lot about service and what it truly means to serve others. I think about how I can live a life full of meaningful service and what I can do to serve others as Christ would have served them. I have had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of Service Activities at BYU-Idaho and through my service on campus I have learned so much about why we serve. But rather than talking about it myself, I would like to reference a talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks called, “Why Do We Serve?” He says the following:

Service is an imperative for those who worship Jesus Christ.

Some may serve for hope of earthly reward. Such a man or woman might serve in Church positions or in private acts of mercy in an effort to achieve prominence or cultivate contacts that would increase income or aid in acquiring wealth. Others might serve in order to obtain worldly honors, prominence, or power.

Another reason for service—probably more worthy than the first, but still in the category of service in search of earthly reward—is that motivated by a personal desire to obtain good companionship. We surely have good associations in our Church service, but is that why we serve?

Some may serve out of fear of punishment.

Other persons may serve out of a sense of duty or out of loyalty to friends or family or traditions. These are those I would call the good soldiers, who instinctively do what they are asked without question and sometimes without giving much thought to the reasons for their service. Such persons fill the ranks of voluntary organizations everywhere, and they do much good. We have all benefited by the good works of such persons. Those who serve out of a sense of duty or loyalty to various wholesome causes are the good and honorable men and women of the earth.

Service of the character I have just described is worthy of praise and will surely qualify for blessings, especially if it is done willingly and joyfully.

Although those who serve out of fear of punishment or out of a sense of duty undoubtedly qualify for the blessings of heaven, there are still higher reasons for service.

One such higher reason for service is the hope of an eternal reward. This hope—the expectation of enjoying the fruits of our labors—is one of the most powerful sources of motivation. As a reason for service, it necessarily involves faith in God and in the fulfillment of his prophecies.

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.)

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.

So my question for you is: WHY DO YOU SERVE? Is our service based off of a love for our fellowmen or a duty to do better? Is it based off selfish reasons (although not horrible, not really ideal either)? How can we become better servants? In serving those around us I hope that we can be the answers to prayers and also that we may have our prayers answered as we help others.

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