So, I was thinking that I would like to save David’s talk he gave for his farewell, and then I thought, how about I just post it on the blog! (I did receive permission from David to do this) This is his first talk, so he actually had it all written down. 🙂
SERVICE THROUGH MISSIONARY WORK
For nearly 4 months I have had the chance to think about serving the people in Peru. I knew that I would have the chance to stand before you today and give to you a talk about a topic that was given me by the bishopric. Having never spoken in Sacrament Meeting before, I was kind of nervous. So I wanted to get some help from my parents. So I asked my dad, normally a good thing, but he was kind of fixated on another event. Which I really could understand; it was a fantastic game last night and the right team won. If you don’t know what I am talking about, check out my dad’s tie. So I went to ask my mother. My mother always has great wisdom. “Mom, how do I give a good talk?” My mom’s reply was something like this, “David, a good talk has three parts. A beginning, a middle and an end.” That was it. So, here is the beginning, The middle comes right after that and the end you will recognize when I say amen. Then, according to my mother, I will have given a good talk. 🙂 (I really did tell him this…I also said some other things, but I paused in the wrong place…oh well! 🙂 )
But seriously, I have given much thought and prayer to the preparation of this talk. I hope and pray that the Holy Ghost will be present today as I share these few thoughts with you.
If there had to be just one lesson I am glad I learned before I leave on my mission, it would be this: that one can only be truly happy if he is serving others. Through service, the Lord can prepare people to hear His word.
I would first like to bring to mind the story of Ammon in the Book of Mormon as he went on his mission to the Lamanites. And Ammon said unto him (meaning Lamoni, the king of the Lamanites in the land of Ishmael): Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die. And it came to pass that king Lamoni was much pleased with Ammon, and caused that his bands should be loosed; and he would that Ammon should take one of his daughters to wife. But Ammon said unto him: Nay, but I will be thy servant. Therefore Ammon became a servant to king Lamoni.…By becoming a servant to the king, Ammon was showing that he knew that Lamoni was not yet ready to hear the word of the Lord. Lamoni had to first trust Ammon.
And so he was sent, by the king, to watch over the flocks of the king at the waters of Sebus. There they found a band of wicked Lamanites who commenced in the scattering of the flocks. And Ammon’s fellow servants, they began to weep exceedingly, saying: Behold our flocks are scattered already. Now they wept because of the fear of being slain. Now when Ammon saw this, his heart was swollen within him with joy; for, said he, I will show forth my power unto these my fellow-servants, or the power which is in me, in restoring these flocks unto the king, that I may win the hearts of these my fellow-servants, that I may lead them to believe in my words. Ammon was ready to serve that he may gain the trust of the king and his household.
In serving, Ammon was able to gain the trust he needed and in so doing, the Lord softened the hearts of Lamoni’s household through Ammon’s service. and through Ammon’s efforts, almost all of Lamoni’s kingdom was converted unto the Lord.
Another example of missionary work through service is from the life of the Savior himself. Throughout His earthly life, the Savior was constantly serving. One of the things he taught was: Whosoever be chiefest among you, let him be your servant. He also taught of service at the last supper.
So after He had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. In doing and saying this, the Savior taught that we should love and serve one another. He even promised that serving others will not only make them happy, but that it will make us happy as well.
Through serving others we are always allowing the Lord to work miracles through us. …When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. King Benjamin taught us here that we must always be serving others so that we may have a clear conscience before God.
President David O. McKay said, “Whate’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part.” President McKay found this carved onto a stone arch while serving a mission in Scotland. This inscription helped him remember to play well in his role as a missionary, and has helped him throughout his whole life. He learned that as a missionary he needs to not just sound like a missionary, but to act like one.
When he came across this inscription, he was feeling homesick. This was a result of having little success in the area. In his own words he said, “That was a message to me that morning to act my part well as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is merely another way of saying…‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.‘”
And what is the will of the “Father which is in heaven?” The answer is: to spread forth the Kingdom of God on the earth. And one of the best ways to spread forth the kingdom of God is to serve others and prepare them to hear the gospel.
I learned to serve others through many different ways. It does not always have to be a huge “service project”. You can serve by holding the door open for someone. It could be done by simply saying a kind word to someone who is down. It could even be as simple as having a smile on your face for everyone to see.
Anyone who knows me and my family knows that we are always willing and eager to serve. We are this way because we have learned that service makes us happy. We have learned how to serve.
Service is not something we can just learn in a classroom. It can only be learned in the act of doing the very thing which it is, service. In this way, it is much like our testimonies of the gospel. A testimony is only to be found and strengthened in the act of bearing it. Because of these qualities, service and missionary work go hand in hand.
Service is essential to our own salvation. Thomas S. Monson said, “I believe that when we face our Maker, we will be asked, ‘How many people did you help?'” With a question like that likely to be asked of us at the great and last day, how important do you think that service is to our Father in Heaven? How important is service when so many of our prophets have counseled in favor of it? And when the Savior himself spent every second of his life in selfless service to others as well as in teaching?
I know this to be true. I know that service will make us happy no matter what we go through. We will always be filled with joy as we serve others. I love serving others and I look forward to doing so as I serve the Lord in Iquitos, Peru.
I am very grateful to all those who have done as the Lord has commanded. Through their diligent service to me and others, I stand before you as the man I am. Someone who loves God and Jesus Christ. One who is willing and ready to share the wonderful message that exists in this the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are so many teachers, leaders, parents, friends, and family that have been there for me; especially during my struggles and challenges. To all of you I say thank you.
I am excited for my mission and I feel that there are people there that the Lord has prepared just for me. I love the Lord and I am willing to serve him however, and wherever, is necessary. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.