Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lesson: Service, Joy, Kindness

Flecks of gold

Margie combined two lessons into one this month. Kindness Begins with Me and Finding Joy Through Service. Both are conference talks given in April Conference and chosen as our lesson topic for the 4th Sunday of each month by the Bishop.

A simple math formula: 
Me + Service = Joy!

Being kind is an act of service
Our Savior taught us about and lived a benevolent life. Jesus loved all and He served all. Centering our lives on Jesus Christ will help us acquire this attribute of benevolence. For us to develop these same Christlike attributes, we must learn about the Savior and “follow in His ways.”

An invitation
I would like to invite each of you to do at least one Samaritan-like act this coming week. It may require that you reach beyond your usual friends or overcome your shyness. You may courageously choose to serve someone who doesn’t treat you well.

I promise that if you will extend yourself beyond what is easy to do, you will feel so good inside that kindness will start to become a part of your everyday life.

You’ll see that benevolence can bring joy and unity to your home, your class, your ward, and your school. “Remember this: kindness begins with me.”

Sometimes we don't believe serving will make us happy...why?
Often we feel helpless in dealing with our lives and that leads to depression. Sometimes we want to fix everything and just can't. We forget that faith enables and fear disables. We give into our fears. Sometimes we just love our self-will and agency too much and forget that if we let go and let God direct our days and lives we'll be happier. Sometimes we get too busy and too caught up in so many things.

Simplify, focus
Elder Ballard counsels us:
Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most.

What are the precious, simple things of the gospel that bring clarity and purpose to our lives? What are the flecks of gospel gold whose patient accumulation over the course of our lifetime will reward us with the ultimate treasure—the precious gift of eternal life?

I believe there is one simple but profound—even sublime—principle that encompasses the entirety of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we wholeheartedly embrace this principle and make it the focus of our lives, it will purify and sanctify us so we can live once again in the presence of God. ...

It is only when we love God and Christ with all of our hearts, souls, and minds that we are able to share this love with our neighbors through acts of kindness and service—the way that the Savior would love and serve all of us if He were among us today.

When this pure love of Christ—or charity—envelops us, we think, feel, and act more like Heavenly Father and Jesus would think, feel, and act.
First, charity begins at home. 
The single most important principle that should govern every home is to practice the Golden Rule—the Lord’s admonition that “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

Another place where we have ample opportunity to serve is in the Church.
Our wards and branches should be places where the Golden Rule always guides our words and actions toward each other. By treating each other kindly, speaking words of support and encouragement, and being sensitive to each other’s needs, we can create loving unity among ward members. Where charity exists, there is no place for gossip or unkind words.

A third area where we can serve is in our communities.
As a pure expression of our love and concern, we can reach out to those who have need of our help.

Great things are wrought through simple and small things. Like the small flecks of gold that accumulate over time into a large treasure, our small and simple acts of kindness and service will accumulate into a life filled with love for Heavenly Father, devotion to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a sense of peace and joy each time we reach out to one another.


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