In today’s reflections, I find myself leaning heavily into the wisdom found in the General Conference talk ‘The Joy of Service,’ delivered in October 1984 by Elder Russell C. Taylor. This compelling talk offers a deeply meaningful perspective on the profound impact of service, not just as an act but as a lifestyle. Elder Taylor intricately weaves scripture and personal experience to illustrate that serving others isn’t just a duty; it’s a privilege that enriches our lives.
The talk begins with a powerful line from Matthew 23:11, “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” This scriptural truth runs contrary to modern definitions of leadership, which often focus on titles, authority, or financial prowess. Instead, Elder Taylor beckons us to rethink leadership as an act of humble service. Genuine leaders are those who offer their time, energy, and resources to lift others up.
Elder Taylor then introduces an awe-inspiring metaphor, saying that “Service is the rent we pay for our own room on Earth.” He clarifies that this isn’t a one-time payment. Every sunrise gifts us a new invoice, demanding acts of kindness, compassion, and selflessness. We should not merely exist; we should strive to contribute, to lessen someone’s burden, to fill a need.
We often laud the merits of good intentions, but Elder Taylor compels us to understand that intentions alone don’t warm the cold or feed the hungry. He challenges us to put the proverbial ‘wood in the stove’ before we expect the ‘heat.’ In a world of instant gratification, this timeless wisdom speaks to the need for preemptive action, for commitment before applause, for sewing before reaping.
Elder Taylor recounts a touching narrative about a woman suffering from arthritis but still serving at a genealogical center. Her story serves as a poignant lesson that the boundaries we believe we have are often self-imposed. The act of serving not only broadens our emotional horizons but also miraculously magnifies our physical and intellectual capacities.
The family unit is often our first introduction to the values that shape us. Elder Taylor stresses the unquantifiable influence parents can have in shaping a new generation rooted in service. With scriptural backing from King Benjamin’s advice in Mosiah 4:15, he insists that the most enduring legacy we can leave is the values we instill in our children. It starts at home.
In concluding, Elder Taylor beckons us to step away from the comfortable chairs of inactivity. He invites us to act, to participate, and to commit. If you’ve been sitting on the fence, contemplating the idea of service, now is the time to take action. Whether it’s volunteering at a local community center, helping your elderly neighbor with groceries, or being a listening ear to a friend in emotional turmoil, the avenues for service are endless.
Your joy, inner peace, and even your legacy are interlinked with your service to humanity. Start today. Open your heart and your hands. Your life, and the lives of those you touch, will never be the same again.
Let us take Elder Taylor’s words to heart and serve wherever and however we can. Because in giving, we receive; in serving, we lead; and in loving, we live. Let us contribute to making our world a better, more compassionate home for us all. Link to the original: Click Here
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