March 2014 Home Teaching Message and Handout
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Service and Eternal Life
The Savior is our example of unselfish service. His perfect life was devoted to serving Heavenly Father and all of His Father’s children. The united purpose of the Father and the Son is to give all of us the gift of immortality and the blessing of eternal life (see Moses 1:39).
To qualify for eternal life, we must be changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ—born again and cleansed from sin. Little children under the age of eight, however, are without sin and are redeemed through the Atonement (see Mosiah 3:16, 21; Moroni 8:10–12).
For all of us who reach the age of accountability, there is a wonderful plan that allows us to be cleansed from sin and prepared for eternal life. That preparation begins with baptism by priesthood authority and the reception of the Holy Ghost. Then we must always remember the Savior and keep the commandments He has given us.
King Benjamin told his people in the Book of Mormon of the joy that comes from feeling forgiveness from sin through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then he taught them that to retain a remission of their sins, they must teach their children to serve one another and they must be as generous as they could to meet the temporal and spiritual needs of those around them. (See Mosiah 4:11–16.)
He also taught, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).
Jesus went about teaching His gospel and doing good (see Acts 10:38). He healed the sick. He raised the dead. With His power He fed thousands when they were hungry and without food (see Matthew 14:14–21; John 6:2–13). After His Resurrection He gave food to several of His Apostles as they came ashore at the Sea of Galilee (see John 21:12–13). In the Americas, He healed the sick and blessed the children one by one (see 3 Nephi 17:7–9, 21).
James the Apostle taught us how the desire to serve others springs from our gratitude for what the Lord has done for us:
“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. …
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:25, 27).
One of the assurances that you are being purified is an increasing desire to serve others for the Savior. Home teaching and visiting teaching become more of a joy and less of a chore. You find yourself volunteering more often in a local school or helping care for the poor in your community. Even though you may have little money to give to those who have less, you wish you had more so that you could give more (see Mosiah 4:24). You find yourself eager to serve your children and to show them how to serve others.
As your nature changes, you will feel a desire to give greater service without recognition. I know disciples of the Savior who have given great gifts of money and service with a determination that no one but God and their children would know about it. God has recognized their service by blessing them in this life, and He will bless them in the eternal life to come (see Matthew 6:1–4; 3 Nephi 13:1–4).
As you have kept the commandment to serve others (see Matthew 22:39), you have felt a change in your feelings of pride. The Savior corrected His Apostles when they contended about who would be greatest among them. He said:
“Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
“But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:10–11).
The Savior teaches us how we can learn to serve others. He served perfectly, and we must learn to serve as He learned—line upon line (see D&C 93:12–13). Through the service we give, we can become more like Him. We will pray with all the energy of our hearts to love our enemies as He loves them (see Matthew 5:43–44; Moroni 7:48). Then we may at last become fitted for eternal life with Him and our Heavenly Father.
I promise that we can come to serve more perfectly as we follow the Savior’s teachings and example.
Teaching from This Message
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has encouraged us to pray for opportunities to serve: “In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day … looking for someone to help” (“Be Anxiously Engaged,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 31). Consider inviting those you teach to set a goal to pray each morning for opportunities to serve and then to seek them throughout the day.
An Answer to Her Prayer
The author lives in Gauteng, South Africa.
One night a friend of another faith visited me. I usually study my scriptures alone, and I had taken them out to study that night. I was prompted to invite her to join my scripture study, but I was afraid and began instead to study alone. I knew that I had ignored a prompting of the Spirit. After a few minutes I cautiously asked, “Would you like to study the scriptures with me?” Without hesitation my friend replied, “Yes.”
We then read from the Book of Mormon. She asked me some questions, and I could feel the Spirit guide me as I answered. I bore my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. After I did this, she told me, “I have been crying and fearful all day. I had just prayed to God for help when you asked me to read the scriptures with you. I feel so much better now. Thank you.”
The Lord had used me as an instrument to answer a prayer and serve one of His children in need. I know that promptings are divine instructions from a wise, glorious Father. When we put aside our fears, we allow Him to manifest His power through our obedience.
Look for Ways to Serve
Children can choose to serve others. Circle the pictures where the child is choosing to follow Jesus Christ by helping someone else.