Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Essence of Discipleship

"From the beginning of time, the Lord has taught that to become His people we need to be of one heart and one mind (see Moses 7:18). The Savior also explained that the two great commandments in the law are “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and “love thy neighbour as thyself” (see Matt 22:36-40). Lastly, soon after the Church was restored, the Lord commanded the Saints to “visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief” (D&C 44:6).

"What is the common theme in all these commandments? It is that we must love one another and serve one another. This is, in fact, the essence of discipleship in the true Church of Jesus Christ."

These are the words of Sister Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, from a talk given in April 2011 entitled, "The Essence of Discipleship," (Ensign, May 2011, 84). Sister Allred emphasized the importance of charity and service to those who are in need. She taught how the gospel of Jesus Christ is service, that the gospel the Savior taught is love in action. "When love becomes the guiding principle in our care for others, our service to them becomes the gospel in action. It is the gospel in its finest moment. It is pure religion" (see James 1:27).

Sister Allred also taught that service isn't simply providing for the needs of someone else. Rather, said Sister Allred, "Short-term needs are met immediately, and a plan to help the recipient become self-reliant is established," highlighting the importance of being able to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family.

I just really like this talk, particularly the manner in which Sister Allred explains the relationship between following the Savior and caring for our fellow men. "The pure love of Christ is expressed as we give selfless service. Helping one another is a sanctifying experience which exalts the receiver and humbles the giver. It helps us become true disciples of Christ."

I am uplifted and have a renewed desire to follow the example of the Savior and strive to be mindful of the needs of those around me.