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took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to awash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” Luke records the Savior saying to his disciples at this same meal, “I am among you as he that serveth.” The Savior Jesus Christ did indeed come among the children of men ‘as he that serveth’. His entire life, from a very young age, was dedicated and devoted to the service of the children of God—his brothers and sisters. The examples of His service are myriad and dramatic in their scope. His service ranged from absolutely unquestionable miracles to simple acts of kindness and compassion. He healed lepers in various miraculous ways. He healed the centurion’s son, sight unseen. He raised the dead on more than one occasion—Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son, a nobleman’s son, Lazarus. He granted forgiveness to sinners. He performed the greatest acts of service this world has ever seen: the atonement and his crucifixion. Some of Christ’s acts of service are impossible for us to replicate. Most of these more extraordinary acts exceed that which will be expected of most of us in this life. But study of the life of Jesus Christ also provides solid examples of simpler kinds of service we are all able to offer others. Jesus had compassion: Luke 7:13 records that Christ, before raising the widow’s son from the dead, “had compassion on her, and said unto her, weep not.” Prior to raising Lazarus, Christ came into the town and found Mary and Martha weeping for the loss of their brother. His response comes in John 11:35. The Master over us all wept with them. We too, can have compassion for others. Having a care for tender feelings and providing compassionate words and solace can serve others in even their darkest, most desolate moments. Compassion and kind words can raise up sunken spirits and provide respite to weary souls. Jesus blessed children: Even though tired, Christ rebuked his disciples for refusing the little children to come unto him. Instead he gathered the little ones to him, embraced them and blessed them. As a mother, this example has particular meaning to me. All of us have such a responsibility to provide whatever we can in the service of children. They are pure, innocent, and dear to our Heavenly Father. On the days when it is difficult to have children in our lives, we would do well to remember our Savior’s example and serve the children in our lives by drawing them to us, by embracing them, by listening to them, by showing our love for them. Jesus prayed for us: Just before he entered into the Garden, Christ offered the great intercessory prayer. As the mediator between mortal men and the Father, he prayed for those he had taught, pleading with the Father to keep them safe, to sanctify them. Our prayers for others can be a powerful tool of service when combined with faith, diligence, and sincerity. The Father hears our prayers, and prayer is a service that can be done for anyone at any time. Jesus taught: In his short ministry, Christ was responsible for teaching the full doctrine of the gospel. Everywhere he went, he taught. In Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount is recorded. This taught to the children of men a higher law—replacing and transcending the Law of Moses. Laced throughout the New
Testament are the many parables Christ taught those who would listen. Christ counseled with those who came to him with questions, and as expert teachers do, provided them with the paths to find their answers and learn for themselves. He taught by example, sitting and eating with the sinners, performing miracles on the Sabbath, serving in action. He taught specifically about serving others in Luke 10 with the parable of the Good Samaritan. We too, can teach. We are responsible for teaching the doctrine of the Gospel to others even now. Some of us are called to that responsibility as a full-time endeavor, and others of us are asked to simply loosen our tongues, and tell others about the Gospel. To teach and share that which we know. To provide opportunities for the Holy Ghost to touch lives and bear witness. Obviously Christ is an embodiment of service—far more than I could ever detail here. His entire life was spent in the service of others. His example leaves us with much to go on as we look toward serving others. Elder V. Dallas Merrell, a member of the Seventy, said, “Service involves us in a process of growth. We learn how to be effective servants step by step over time.” We begin in our emulation of the Savior’s example of service with being commanded to do so. If we return to the washing of the feet at the Last Supper, Christ explains his actions to the disciples. Vs. 15 says, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” We are commanded to do as the Savior has done. So in the beginning of this process, perhaps we are providing service to others because we have been told to. We at least recognize the need to be obedient, but we may not have our full heart in it. We do it so we won’t be disciplined for not following a commandment. The example of the Savior merely provides the ‘technical’ how to for service. As we learn and grow a bit more, we begin to understand that we have covenanted to serve others. Alma taught about baptism in Mosiah 18:8-9. It reads, “And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.” The Savior provided examples of each of these things. He mourned with Mary and Martha. He took upon himself all our burdens in the Garden and on the cross. John 14: 27 reads, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” These are words of comfort, meant to provide consolation and support—the Gospel brings us peace and this is comforting. In Matthew 11:2830, we read, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He invites us to bring Him our burdens, to find our rest in him. We can do this for others and we have covenanted to do so. We renewed that covenant moments ago with the Sacrament. Understanding these covenants, and seeking to meet them provides a bit more ‘motivation’ to follow the Savior’s example of service. We are promised under the same covenant great things in return for our obedience in this matter. The Savior’s example at this point now serves to provide a way for us to meet our obligation to Heavenly Father. At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, this progression of service becomes something more. We find that we are happy when we help others. Our spirits are enlarged when we think of others. Our service may or may not be welcomed or acknowledged, but we find joy in it. Again returning to the Last Supper, the Savior concluded his lesson with vs.16 and 17. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” Regardless of our calling in the church, our economic or social status, or our situation in life, we will be happy if we serve others. Those in the highest positions of the church , those of us with stewardship over others for a time in the church, those of us who are under stewardship: we all find joy in service. The Savior, Master and Redeemer of all, came to serve us, lowly, imperfect beings. Christ taught the following in Matthew 25:34-40, “Then shall the King say unto them on his aright hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 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.” Whatever service we render to any of our brothers and sisters here on earth will be counted as being rendered to our Master, and these acts will gain us treasures in heaven and a divine inheritance in our Father’s kingdom. We love Christ and WANT to be like Him. Charity develops within us as we serve. We become more like the Savior when we follow his example and do the work he would have us do. My favorite scripture regarding service can be found in Romans 12:1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Let each of us present ourselves, walking, breathing, living sacrifices to the Lord as we answer the call to serve our fellow man.
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