Good morning brothers and sisters, today I was asked to talk about service. Matthew 22: 37-39 explains why service is important. It reads, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Service is not only a cool thing to do for one another, but it is literally a commandment from God.
One of the favorite memories is one I share with my dad from when I was around 7 years old. My dad would buy a bunch of flowers and then on Mother’s Day we would hand deliver them to the female residents and staff at his nursing home. I always loved doing this with him because I enjoyed watching their faces light up with joy as they were handed the beautiful bouquet. As sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President, states in an April 2018 General Conference, “Sometimes we think we have to do something grand and heroic to “count” as serving our neighbors. Yet simple acts of service can have profound effects on others—as well as on ourselves.” As their faces lit up I could see how much this small thing brightened up their day and made them feel loved and appreciated. I distinctly remember feeling good inside and although I wasn’t the one receiving flowers, I too felt great amounts of joy.
Almost 7 years ago my family and I lived in Richland, Washington. There, we had a special neighbor named Val. Val was your stereotypical old lady neighbor who would take you under her wing and treat you with nothing less than endless amounts of love and joy. I remember her being my best friend. I walked down to her house and always played with her granddaughter when she was in town visiting, and Val would always take us to get ice cream, or to the water park, or farmers market, literally anywhere we wanted. But, I mostly remember the endless games of parcheesi. For those of you unfamiliar with this game, it is very similar to the game, Sorry. This was my favorite game to play and she was the only person who would play it with me time after time after time again. I also loved that during the Christmas season, we would bake for hours on end. We made all sorts of goodies from fudge, to cookies, and even chocolate covered peanut butter balls. I also remember that I always played with the dog named Peaches and helped her pull weeds in her garden. Just recently my mom talked to Val on the phone, and she shared how much she enjoyed having me over all the time and how much she misses it. Looking back I realized how much her service and love that she showed me left an enormous impact in my life of loving thy neighbor but I was able to do the same for her. None of this was some grand gesture but genuine friendship and fellowshipping of our neighbors.
President Gordon B. Hinkley once said: “No man can be a true latter-day saint who is unneighborly, who does not reach out to assist and help others. It is inherent in the very nature of the gospel that we do so. My brothers and sisters, we cannot live unto ourselves.” President Hinkley’s words also correlate to what has been spoken by our Stake President. President Richardson has extended a challenge to all of us. To love, share and invite. By reaching out to our neighbors and creating long lasting friendships. Everyday I’m grateful for Val and our friendship. I’m grateful for the laughs we shared, recipes we created, and cookies we ate.
Today, many people live selfishly and ask, “What’s in it for me?” Must we be selfish in all our doings to the point where we cannot simply help someone unless it provides us with something in return? Brothers and sisters, I hope that we all may pray and ask Heavenly Father who needs our help. That we will follow our savior's example and show love and kindness to others.
I’d like to end with one of my favorite scriptures. In Mosiah 2:7 it reads, “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.” By loving and serving those around us we are also showing God that we love Him. I know that as we serve those around us and spread the light of Christ, we can help gather Israel and I know that in turn we will be blessed. I’d like to bear my testimony of the gospel, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.