Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

RS/MP Chapter 22: Doing Good to Others (Lorenzo Snow Manual)

Posted by kirkcaudle on November 14, 2013

Find the link to the entire lesson here.

One Satan’s greatest tricks is to make us question our true identities. Another trick that Satan plays is even coyer though, he makes us question the true identities of others. Satan would have us believe that our lives do not depend on one other and that we should be disconnected to one another. Lorzeno Snow taught:

We are of the same Father in the celestial worlds. … If we knew each other as we should, … our sympathies would be excited more than they are at the present time, and there would be a desire on the part of every individual to study in their own minds how they might do their brethren good, how they might alleviate their sorrows and build them up in truth, how [they might] remove the darkness from their minds.

If we actually understood who the other people in the world were we would do more for them. People on the other side of the world are not just people on the other side of the world. Our neighbors are not just our neighbors, but our brothers and our sisters. Not just in some metaphorical sense either, but in a very literal sense. We all received life from the same source. We are not on earth to simply make ourselves happy and do what it takes to get by, but “We have been sent into the world to do good to others; and in doing good to others we do good to ourselves” (Snow). That is our task.

This task must be undertaken by us now and cannot be put off until some later time. If we do not learn to love people now we will not magically love them when we die. Joseph Smith taught “that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy” (D&C 130:2). It is impossible to “be coupled” with something that we do not yet possess. Therefore, it is imperative that we begin to build loving relationships with others around us today so that we are prepared for that coupling.

The effort that we put into building relationships with members of our wards, with our neighbors, and with all of those around the world says a lot about how we view our relationship with God, “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 fellowbeings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). Serving the needs of others does more than just give us a happy feeling, it actually provides us with wisdom. Serving our brothers and our sisters teaches us a kind of wisdom that we cannot gain any other way. Some things must be experienced, “A person never can enjoy heaven until he learns how to get it, and to act upon its principles” (Snow). I believe that serving the needy is one of those principles.

We often talk about helping the needy, but who exactly are the needy? King Benjamin taught, “For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?” (Mosiah 4:19). Although we all depend on God for everything that we have God often uses us as the delivery service. God runs the warehouse and we should be his faithful servants. We do not work because we have to, but because we desire to be anxious engaged in the good work.  God is not interested in those trying to move up into middle management. He wants those who are willing to get down and do the dirty work, or in other words, those who will help the people that nobody else is willing to deal with.

In the New Testament Christ taught:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (Matthew 25:35-40).

Serving the least in the kingdom is not just a nice thing to do. It is more than that. It is what we are called to do. “Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5). Charity is not an optional extra in the gospel, it is the gospel. The Good News is that help is on the way and we are that help. In the end, “if ye have not charity ye are nothing” (Moroni 7:46). We are nothing because we have rejected the very gospel that we have professed to proclaim. Without charity we are nothing by hypocrites.

In the church we are often called to the work through specially callings. We are asked to magnify our callings. One way to think about magnifying our callings is by using the image of a magnifying glass. What does a magnifying glass do? Does it actually make things larger? No, it simply lets you see the small details in a clearer way. The details in this case are the people that we are called to serve.

Often, we try to make our callings more than they are. We try to reinvent the calling. We put in lots of work thinking that the harder we work the closer we are to salvation or the more like Jesus we are becoming. In other words, we try to make our calling larger than they are and move up to middle management. We equate magnifying our calling with working harder and doing more work. We work so hard doing that work that we end up forgetting the people that we are called to serve. The calling then becomes about me rather than you.

What we should really do (I think) is see our calling for what it is. It is a call to build relationships and it is an opportunity to learn to love others more fully. As Lorenzo Snow said, “If you want to secure the friendship and affections of your friends go to work and comfort them with that light which you have received, remembering those blessings came down from God, and that by doing this you are only doing what every man should do. Look closely at our responsibilities and do those.” If we magnify our callings we will not be overworked, but we will see each detail in a better light and then be able to discern which detail we should be working on at a given moment. In this way, magnifying our calling means not running faster than we are able (instead of working ourselves to death) and thus doing better work (instead of doing more work).

A magnified calling is a focused calling. If we try to do everything (which is impossible anyway) we lose sight of the important details. When it comes to callings, doing more does not always equal doing better. Do not enlarge, but magnify. “We should have before us a strong desire to do good to others. Never mind so much about ourselves. Good will come to us all right if we keep our minds outside of ourselves to a certain extent, and try to make others happier and draw them a little nearer to the Lord” (Snow). Life is not about me, it is about us. Satan will do all he can though to make us think that it is not. Our true identities are inseparably connected with our begging brothers and sisters. The more that we focus on them the less time we will sending thinking about ourselves. At that point we can truly forget ourselves and go to work. This, I think, is our calling.

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