In Mosiah 2, King Benjamin begins his farewell address to his people. So many people come to hear his words that a tower needs to be erected for him to stand on as he speaks. Even then, many of the people are sitting too far away to hear him — no PA system, obviously — so his words need to be written down and distributed to the multitude.
As King Benjamin reviews his reign, he reminds the people that he didn’t burden them with taxes but rather worked to support himself and even to serve others. He then stresses that he is not telling them this to boast but rather to teach them that serving others is part of serving God. His statement is one that is quoted often in sermons today:
“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.” (Mosiah 2:17)
Of course, the king wasn’t saying this just to point out that he was serving God. He goes on to say that “if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?” (verse 18). He wanted them to follow his example!
There are many things we can do as part of our service to God. Some — such as praying, attending church services and reading the scriptures — can be useful in establishing or enhancing our personal relationship with God. These are all very important activities, but if they are used to just help ourselves, then the target audience is very limited (to just me).
Can we use these same activities to serve others?
When we pray, do we set aside time to pray for the needs of others? We each, no doubt, have a long list of things we would like God to do for us, but spending time in prayer for others shows God we are not selfish and that we care about others. Also, the more different situations we pray for, the more opportunities we have for answered prayers (and more entries in “The Book of You”). With today’s technology, we have access to many prayer requests. Nobody is expected to be able to pray for all of these, but if the spirit pricks your heart regarding some, then do your best to pray for those needs.
When we attend church services, are we asking, “What am I going to get out of this meeting?” or are we asking, “How can I be a blessing to someone else today?” If it’s the first, then we might be disappointed at times — maybe the message wasn’t really for me today; we didn’t sing any of my favorite hymns; my best friend wasn’t there to sit with me, etc. However, if our primary goal is to serve others in church, then we will rarely be disappointed. There are always opportunities to be a blessing to someone else, and we then go home with a blessing as well.
Reading the scriptures seems to be for just our personal benefit. However, if we learn them enough to be able to preach or teach the Word of God — if that’s our calling — or to be able to reference scriptural accounts in conversations, our reading can then benefit others. Also, we will hopefully take to heart passages such as Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus says that if we feed or clothe people in need, we are doing it to Him; conversely, if we turn them away, we are turning Him away.
Whether it’s serving our brothers and sisters in church or serving people in need who have nothing to do with the church, it’s all part of our personal service to God. As King Benjamin said, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.