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Called to Serve

Service to others is the essence of the commitment to Christ-like living (Mark 10:44-45). Service turns love from an abstraction into something concrete, something embodied. LDS tradition, as reflected in patriarchal blessings and the initiatory, teaches that we each have a mission—a ministry or vocation—that gives our life purpose and calls us to use our gifts to serve others.

The LDS custom of calling lay members to serve in the church cultivates a strong sense of volunteerism. But that same tradition creates a constant risk that Latter-day Saints will become absorbed in the needs of own own faith community rather than reaching out to serve in other arenas. We should become "anxiously engaged" in good causes on our own initiative (D&C 58:26-28). We do not need to wait for a church leader to call us to serve: the desire or willingness to serve is a call to serve (D&C 4:3; 6:4-5).

The magnitude of need that exists in the world can be overwhelming. The scriptures urge us not to be weary of well-doing. Through seemingly small efforts, great things are brought to pass (Alma 37:6-7; D&C 64:32-33). God promises that if we desire it, we will be the means of doing much good in our generation (D&C 6:8).

Related Topics:
A Personal Mission    

 I Will Be Valiant  (Children's Songbook 162)
 Have I Done Any Good?  (Hymns 223)

Franklin D. Richards: Every one in all the Church should be filled with a spirit of blessing. The authority of the Priesthood should cause a gushing forth from the fountain of the heart, a bubbling forth of streams of blessing, of consolation, of comfort and of rejoicing, each should try to help and benefit the other in every possible way.
Journal of Discourses 26:100

Glenn L. Pace: We must reach out beyond the walls of our own church. In humanitarian work, as in other areas of the gospel, we cannot become the salt of the earth if we stay in one lump in the cultural halls of our beautiful meetinghouses. We need not wait for a call or assignment from a Church leader before we become involved in activities that are best carried out on a community or individual basis.
"A Thousand Times," Ensign, November 1990, 10

Chieko N. Okazaki: No act of compassion is ever futile or wasted. Each choice to act from tenderness feeds our own spirits and becomes a conduit by which the pure love of Christ can spill into a world hungry for such transforming, abounding, infinite love.

Cat's Cradle (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993), 128

Chieko N. Okazaki: Because of the Savior's life and death, his love has power in us; and it manifests itself through our desire to perform Christ-like service. What do I mean by that? First, it means that we should minister to individuals in love, rather than worry about administering programs. When we are truly filled with the love of the Savior, we are more concerned about people than about programs.

Cat's Cradle (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993), 180

Susan Kamei Leung: The Lord created us each to be an individual. He sent each of us to earth to serve a unique set of missions in our own excellent, often different, ways. We serve him best by being the best of whomever he made us individually to be.

"If You're a Drummer," To Rejoice As Women (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995), 53

Gordon B. Hinckley: Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people. Cultivate a spirit of forgiveness in your heart against any who might have offended you. Look to the Lord and live and work to lift and serve His sons and daughters. You will come to know a happiness that you have never known before if you will do that. I do not care how old you are, how young you are, whatever. You can lift people and help them. Heaven knows there are so very, very, very many people in this world who need help. . . . Stand taller, stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Forget yourself.

Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 598

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