Jacob 1. Nephi’s younger brother, Jacob, reminds us that Nephi was a “great protector” for his people even so much that he fought in battle alongside them against the Lamanites. Furthermore, Nephi “labored all his days for their welfare.” He lived two great hero principles that are rooted in humility and duty: protect and promote others. Everything Nephi did was for the good of the Lord and the good of his family and his people.
Jacob and his younger brother, Joseph, took over this leadership responsibility as they were “consecrated priests and teachers of this people, by the hand of Nephi.” They took upon them “the responsibility” and sought to “magnify [their] office unto the Lord.”
They “labored diligently…[to] persuade [their people] to come unto Christ and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest.” They taught them to “believe in Christ” in an effort to “persuade all men not to rebel against God” and were saddened when the Nephites “began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices” and “began to be lifted up somewhat in pride.”
As their spiritual leader, Jacob desired to protect his people from the consequences of sin and promote their well-being. In order to do this, Jacob first “obtained [his] errand from the Lord” and then he “taught [his people] in the temple” regarding the beliefs and actions that would protect and promote both their temporal and eternal welfare as individuals and families.
We likewise have the opportunity to labor for the welfare of our families and to invite others to come unto Christ that they might “partake of the goodness of God.” This is not an easy task. “Many years ago a new missionary in England was frustrated and discouraged. He wrote home saying he felt he was wasting his time. His wise father replied, ‘Forget yourself and go to work.’ Young Elder Gordon B. Hinckley went to his knees and covenanted with the Lord that he would try to forget himself and lose himself in the Lord’s service. Years later, as a mature servant of the Lord, Elder Hinckley would say, ‘He who lives only unto himself withers and dies, while he who forgets himself in the service of others grows and blossoms in this life and in eternity'” (“Unselfish Service,” Dallin H. Oaks, Apr 2009).
Elder Oaks concluded with these thoughts and promised blessings for those who labor for the welfare of others.
The values of the world wrongly teach that “it’s all about me.” That corrupting attitude produces no change and no growth. It is contrary to eternal progress toward the destiny God has identified in His great plan for His children. The plan of the gospel of Jesus Christ lifts us above our selfish desires and teaches us that this life is all about what we can become.
A great example of unselfish service is the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose vow committed herself and her fellow workers to “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.” She taught that “one thing will always secure heaven for us—the acts of charity and kindness with which we have filled our lives.” “We can do no great things,” Mother Teresa maintained, “only small things with great love.” When this wonderful Catholic servant died, the First Presidency’s message of condolence declared, “Her life of unselfish service is an inspiration to all the world, and her acts of Christian goodness will stand as a memorial for generations to come.” That is what the Savior called losing our lives in service to others.
Each of us should apply that principle to our attitudes in attending church. Some say “I didn’t learn anything today” or “No one was friendly to me” or “I was offended” or “The Church is not filling my needs.” All those answers are self-centered, and all retard spiritual growth.
In contrast, a wise friend wrote:
“Years ago, I changed my attitude about going to church. No longer do I go to church for my sake, but to think of others. I make a point of saying hello to people who sit alone, to welcome visitors, … to volunteer for an assignment. …
“In short, I go to church each week with the intent of being active, not passive, and making a positive difference in people’s lives. Consequently, my attendance at Church meetings is so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.”
All of this illustrates the eternal principle that we are happier and more fulfilled when we act and serve for what we give, not for what we get.
How will you labor more effectively and joyfully for the welfare of others?
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