The transformative power of service

Elder Carl B. Cook spoke of the power of service. I loved his focus on the transformative nature of service:

The opportunity to serve is one of the great blessings of membership in the Church. The Lord has said, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me,” and we serve Him by serving others.

As we serve, we draw closer to God. We come to know Him in ways that we otherwise might not. Our faith in Him increases. Our problems are put into perspective. Life becomes more satisfying. Our love for others increases, as well as our desire to serve. Through this blessed process, we become more like God, and we are better prepared to return to Him.

Service is ultimately how we become more like God. When we put others first, that act transforms and elevates us. We love more and therefore become more like our loving Heavenly Father.

Nor is service simply a temporary activity.

As President Marion G. Romney taught: “Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.”

Heavenly Father’s very essence is service. He does nothing save it be for the purpose of serving us. In doing so, he has great joy but also sorrow at times. I recently read a post from a friend who works with Syrian refugees describing the joy but also the grief that she has experienced. I felt that same potent combination as a missionary. She has tapped into the empathy and charity of the savior. She is drawing closer to Heavenly Father because she is experiencing a modicum of what he experiences.

It’s so easy to put off service and to make excuses that now isn’t a good time in life. Truthfully, with two small children sometimes it really isn’t the right time for me. But nevertheless, we must have an attitude and willingness to put aside the natural man and engage in soul enriching service.

The natural man or woman in all of us is inclined to allow us to excuse ourselves from serving for reasons such as “I am not ready to serve; I have more to learn,” “I’m tired and need a break,” “I’m too old–it’s someone else’s turn,” or “I am simply too busy.”

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in Church and use my talents. I’m grateful for the invitation to try to serve in ways large and small.