As Summer draws to a close and the weather begins to cool, we begin to see many changes in our family's lives. A new school year starts, new commitments arise, and we seem to become involved in more activities than during the leisure days of summer. We now have homework to do, or homework to help with. There are new commitments in our lives. School meetings and ball games to attend. Lessons and practices take up a larger part of our lives. It seems as the days become shorter our lives become much more hectic and we can become overwhelmed with our day to day activities and commitments. We find that we have to make changes in our routine to fit everything we need to do into 24 hours. As this begins to happen I would suggest that we recommit ourselves to service.
We are a church of service. From our callings in the church to home teaching and visiting teaching, blessing and passing the sacrament, collecting fast offerings, setting up and taking down chairs, taking meals to the sick, helping people move into and out of the ward, attending the temple, cleaning the church building, attending meetings and activities that others have spent so much time in preparation for, as well as countless acts of service that go unseen - We are a church of service.
The scriptures abound with calls for service. King Benjamin taught “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” In a talk by President Monson, he says “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 shall save it.' I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. 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.”
Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by the business of our daily lives that we can forget those who need our help and the blessings we receive by providing that help. I relate a story from my own life not because I am a master at giving service but because it illustrates a point. Many years ago I was getting off the freeway in Orem by UVU. I was coming home from work and was tired. There was an old pick-up truck 2 or 3 vehicles in front of me. The light turned green and the truck did not move. We waited. Finally the two cars in front pulled around and went on their way and I was now stuck behind the truck through another red light. The light turned green again and still the truck did not move. My level of annoyance began to rise, but I was impressed that I should get out and see if the driver needed help. I went to the passenger side of the truck and there was a young mother with tears steaming down her face and her child in a car seat next to her. She told me her truck had stalled and she had been sitting there for 45 minutes and I was the first one to stop and help. This was before the days of cell phones so she had no way to call for help. I got behind her truck and started to push, soon I was joined by another man and a woman and we pushed the truck through that long intersection and to the side of the road. Another woman then stopped and offered a ride to the young mother and her child, and eventually we were all on our way. The thing that has stuck with me all these years is that she had sat in one of the busiest intersection in the state for 45 minutes. How many people had passed her by? I am grateful for the impression I had to stop and help that day and the lesson it taught me about service.
In a talk by President Monson, he says “I am confident it is the intention of each member of the Church to serve and to help those in need. At baptism we covenanted to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet, how often has day-to-day living interfered and you’ve left it for others to help, feeling that “oh, surely someone will take care of that need”?
We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the “thick of thin things.” In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes.
It is my prayer that as the new school year begins and the seasons begin to change that we can recommit ourselves to the service of others and the savior.