I know its been like a month and a half since Cody and I spoke in church but I have been thinking about service today which brought me to posting this. Thinking about service and how no matter how badly we may be in need for it, it is so hard to accept it. Accepting help for me is a difficult thing. I am stubborn but I hate having to admit to myself and especially to others that I am indeed, needing help of some kind. This reminded my of Cody's talk which he gave. It was so good! He talked on service. I thought I would post it. Its a side many have never seen of him but its there! Needing help, realizing it, asking for it, then in turn accepting it is definitely a humbling experience. Here is Cody's talk.
"Good Afternoon Brothers and Sisters. As my wife introduced me, I am Cody Steele. Like she said, a few weeks ago, Brother Cox gave us the assignment of a short talk for today. Unfortunately for me, he did not assign a topic. A few days ago, I was considering speaking about the evils of procrastination, but I never got around to it. Instead I decided to speak to you today about service.
I found a very interesting talk given by Dallin H. Oaks. It the very first talk he gave after being called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The question he built his talk around is not what service can we do, or how much can we do for someone, but why do we serve at all?
We all have been taught and know that service is important to our salvation. Jesus himself taught us in the book of John that, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another". In latter day prophecy the Lord has commanded that we “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” as found in D&C 81 verse 5.
Indeed, service is a covenant obligation of all members of the Church of Jesus Christ.
But why do we serve. Why we are serving matters even more than what we are doing as far as the Lord is concerned. The scriptures teach that the Lord looks to our thoughts as well as to our acts. One of God’s earliest commandments to Israel was that they should love him and “serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Doctrine and Covenants 64 verse 34 declares that the Lord requires not only the acts of the children of men, but “the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.” As the Apostle Paul said, we that are strong enough to bear the infirmities of the weak should not do so “to please ourselves.” These scriptures make clear that in order to purify our service in the Church and to our fellowmen, it is necessary to consider not only how we serve, but also why we serve.
Elder Oaks discusses six reasons as to why the people of this world serve those around them. The first is to serve for earthly reward. To serve in acts of mercy in order to receive prominence in culure or gain in income earns no gospel reward.
Another reason for service—probably more worthy than the first, but still in the category of service in search of earthly reward—is that motivated by a personal desire to obtain good companionship. We surely have good associations in our Church service, but is that why we serve?
Some people may serve for fear of punishment. It is common to read in the scriptures, stories of those who are miserable because they failed to follow the commandments of the Lord. Thus, King Benjamin taught his people that the soul of the unrepentant transgressor would be filled with “a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever.” Such descriptions surely offer sufficient incentive for keeping the commandment of service. But service out of fear of punishment is a lesser motive at best.
People may serve to fulfill a sense of duty or out of loyalty to family or tradition. These people do what they are asked without question, but sometimes without giving much though to the reasons of their service. These people do much good in the world and we have all benefited by the good works of such people. Those who serve out of a sense of duty or loyalty to various wholesome causes are the good and honorable men and women of the earth. Service such as this will surely qualify for some of the blessing of the gospel, especially if done joyfully. As the Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Although those who serve out of fear of punishment or out of a sense of duty undoubtedly qualify for the blessings of heaven, there are still higher reasons for service.
One such reason is to serve for the hope of an eternal reward. This hope—the expectation of enjoying the fruits of our labors—is one of the most powerful sources of motivation. As a reason for service, it necessarily involves faith in God and in the fulfillment of his prophecies. The scriptures are rich in promises of eternal rewards. For example, in a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith in June 1829, the Lord said: “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”
The final and most noble of the many reasons to serve is Given in the scripture Moroni 7 verse 47. Charity is the pure love of Christ. Mormon teaches us that this virtue is the greatest of all. We know from these inspired words that even the most extreme acts of service—such as giving all of our goods to feed the poor—profit us nothing unless our service is motivated by the pure love of Christ. We learn from this command that it is not enough to serve God with all of our might and strength. He who looks into our hearts and knows our minds demands more than this. In order to stand blameless before God at the last day, we must also serve him with all our heart and mind.
Service with all of our heart and mind is a high challenge for all of us. Such service must be free of selfish ambition. It must be motivated only by the pure love of Christ.
We have been taught that as we grow in selflessness that our blessings will grow accordingly. We were told in 2 Corinthians Chapter 9 verse 6 and 7 that “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
In closing I have one last quote from an anonymous writer, “It is obeying God willingly that is accepted “The Lord hates that which is forced—it is rather a tax than an offering.” I have a strong testimony of service and hope that I can continue to serve for the right reasons. I know that it is by the pure love of Christ that the greatest things of this world have come to pass. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ Amen."
I love that man!!