Today at church we had our Relief Society Visiting Teaching Seminar. It was a very uplifting meeting. For those who may not be familiar with our Church's Visiting Teaching program this is how it works. In our ward Relief Society each sister is assigned a companion and these companion-ships are assigned to visit 3 or more sisters a month. During these visits they usually leave a message but their main purpose is to become friends with these sisters and be available at any time for any reason to assist in times of trials and in times of rejoicing. In essence we all watch over one another. It is an errand of angels.
In the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 2:17 it states: "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."
Through the years I have learned this wisdom. I have had many occasions to serve others. Sometimes these moments of service were not always convenient; but when you complete this moment of service, a feeling of joy comes into your heart. You will feel deep gratitude that you were able to help another individual.
There are numberless ways to serve one another. Within our neighborhoods, communities, work, and just within our own homes there are always someone in need. Some of this service may not be in giving time, providing meals, material needs, and etc. but perhaps just a listening ear, a moment of kindness.
I have been the recipient of many acts of Service. Often times prideful thoughts come and we say to ourselves we can do this alone. We have a difficult time accepting service or asking for it. Years ago, I fit into that category. We were moving from Las Vegas, Nevada to Spokane, Washington when I had a moment that I truly needed help. My husband had been transferred to Spokane to be the Director of a new mail order pharmacy. My husband had a heart attack on the Sunday before we were to move out of our home on the coming Wednesday. He was only 45 years old at that time. He had an angioplasty procedure and was released to travel a few days later. Instead of the week long trip that we had planned with 4 of our children; we ended up flying directly to Spokane. Our furniture was not to arrive for a few more days; so we were staying in a hotel. The first night there my husband started to have some lung discomfort and a temperature. We didn't have a physician so I made some calls and found a good Heart Specialist. I took him to the Emergency Room and the physician wanted to admit him into the hospital. My husband was in the hospital for 4 days with Dresslers Syndrome, a complication from the Heart attack. Meanwhile, our furniture arrived and I didn't know what to do other than I knew I had to have some help. I finally called the Bishop of the ward we were moving into. Not only did the Bishopric arrive quickly to see about our needs but the President of the Relief Society came baring a gift of a delicious homemade pie and she set about making sure we had some meals for the next few days. One of the counselors in the Bishopric came back to help us set up a water bed so that my husband would have a bed to be in when he was released from the hospital. Also, my husband was given a priesthood blessing that calmed us all. Through this whole experience our children were taught about true Christian service and I felt such joy in knowing that we had people around us who would care for us at this time and I knew that Heavenly Father was aware and sent these angels to us.
I also learned that service can have a healing effect upon our spirits. I was a Hospice Home Health Nurse for a few years while living in Las Vegas. Being a Hospice Nurse was such a blessing in my life. When you visit and care for a patient suffering with a terminal illness and their families you feel great joy when you have had an impact on their lives. At one point I had some health problems; there were days when I had such a hard time dragging myself to work. However, when I would make my first visit for the day; I always felt better. I felt joy in being able to help another and in the process; I was deeply blessed and I was able to handle my illness. Although I have not been depressed I do know that when you are feeling down that if you will do something for someone else you will feel better. Service is a great antidote for those down days.
We know that loving and caring for other people is not just our duty but also our joy; that love is one of the purposes of our lives. Christ reminded his listener that the second great commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves and then, when asked who our neighbor is, he responded with the story of the Good Samaritan. This story tells us many things; but basically it tells us that love and service bring joy and that the tears that come to our eyes echoes of the love of Christ, in recognition of a good act.
" When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." This is the moment in time that you will feel wonderful feelings of joy.
Thus, Joy is in giving and receiving service.