by President Thomas S. Monson
All who have studied mathematics know what a common denominator is. For Latter-day Saints, there is a common denominator that binds us together. That common denominator is the individual call each of us receives to fill assignments in God’s kingdom here upon the earth. Are you ever guilty of murmuring when a calling comes to you? Or do you accept with thanksgiving each opportunity to serve your brothers and sisters, knowing that our Heavenly Father will bless those whom He calls? I would hope that we would not lose the real objective of our cherished opportunities to serve. That objective, that eternal goal, is the same spoken of by the Lord and found in the Pearl of Great Price: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” May we ever remember that the mantle of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cloak of comfort but rather a robe of responsibility. Our duty, in addition to saving ourselves, is to guide others to the celestial kingdom of God. By willingly walking the path of service to God, we will never be in the position of Shakespeare’s Cardinal Wolsey. Stripped of his power after a life of service to his king, he sadly lamented: Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, He would not in mine age Have left me naked to mine enemies.
What kind of service does heaven require? “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.” I pause when I think of the words of President John Taylor (1808–87): “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty.” Like a glowing searchlight of goodness is the life of Jesus as He ministered among men. “I am among you as he that serveth,” Jesus declared as He brought strength to the limbs of the cripple, sight to the eyes of the blind, hearing to the ears of the deaf, and life to the body of the dead. With the parable of the good Samaritan, the Master taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. With His answer to the rich young ruler, He taught us to shed our selfishness. With the feeding of the 5,000, He taught us to see to the needs of others. And with the Sermon on the Mount, He taught us to seek first the kingdom of God. In the New World, the resurrected Lord declared, “Ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do.” We bless others as we serve in the shadow of “Jesus of Nazareth … who went about doing good.” God bless us to find joy in serving our Father in Heaven as we serve His children on earth. Teaching from This Message “[The Lord] will not permit us to fail if we do our part. He will magnify us even beyond our own talents and abilities. … It is one of the sweetest experiences that can come to a human being” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Teaching, No Greater Call , 20).
Consider sharing an experience when you or someone you know has felt the Lord magnify his or her talents and abilities. Invite the family to share some of their own positive experiences as they have responded to “the Savior’s call to serve.” Youth Serving in the Temple By Benjamin A. When I turned 17, I started thinking seriously about my future, and I prayed to Heavenly Father about what I could do to prepare to go on a mission and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. I felt that I ought to go to the temple more often because it is the house of the Lord and would be the place where I could feel closest to my Heavenly Father. So I set a goal to do 1,000 baptisms in a year. I truly felt the need to set this goal; I fasted to know if this was what I ought to do. Our Heavenly Father answered me, and I began to go to the Tampico Mexico Temple every Saturday. After I had done 500 baptisms, I set a goal to do family history research on my ancestors, and I liked doing the research so much that I could not sleep because I was looking for names. I found 50 names and eight generations of my family history; I helped do the temple work for all of them. I ended up doing over 1,300 baptisms, and I graduated from seminary, received the Melchizedek Priesthood, and am now serving as a full-time missionary, which was one of my biggest goals in life.