As I continue to write weekly blog posts for the General Conference Odyssey working through older general conference addresses, I also felt that I should blog through all of the talks of the most recent general conference. There were 35 talks at the most recent conference, so I plan on writing slightly more than one per week to get through all of the talks before next conference.
I always enjoy watching talks from Women’s Conference and I have long considered these talks to be part of conference. But this session was phenomenal in particular. I loved how all the talks converged around the common theme of serving and loving all–and especially those who are disdained and persecuted. These themes were ones that I hope all members will hear and learn from, and not just the sisters.
Sister Esplin spoke first. My favorite part of her talk came early when she spoke of Christlike service and the love that we need to have for others.
“True Christlike service is selfless and focuses on others. One woman who took care of her invalid husband explained, ‘Don’t think of your task as a burden; think of it as an opportunity to learn what love really is.'”
Service is a chance that we all have to truly come to know others on a more intimate level. It is also an opportunity to put off selfishness and to come to think of another human being as our father in heaven thinks of them.
Sister Esplin then quoted Sister Sondra D. Heaston speaking at a BYU devotional who asked, ” “What if we could really see into each other’s hearts? Would we understand each other better? By feeling what others feel, seeing what others see, and hearing what others hear, would we make, and take, the time to serve others, and would we treat them differently? Would we treat them with more patience, more kindness, and more tolerance?”
This quote really struck me and perfectly encapsulated the message of the talk and the whole session. When we see from another’s perspective, we can gain a greater measure of charity and kindness. When we realize that those with whom we interact are children of God with their own spiritual needs, we are likely to step up our service. We are likely to be more Christ-like.
That is one of the reasons that Christ came down to earth to experience the full range of human experience. That is why he took upon himself all of our pains and sorrows. He literally walked that mile in our shoes and saw into our hearts. And so Christ perfectly knows and loves each of us. He knows us inside and out.
In certain transcendent moments we can feel that same kind of love for others. I felt that feeling of celestial love more fully on my mission than I ever have before. When I was serving others and thinking about their eternal welfare, I felt a small portion of the love that Heavenly Father feels for all of us.
Sister Esplin is inviting us to have those moments more frequently. If we pray for such charity, then our mundane service opportunities can be transformed into something far more poignant and eternally significant.