Study helps: Sister Cristina B Franco – The Joy of Unselfish Service

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The title of this talk is ‘The Joy of Unselfish Service.’ Is there such a thing as ‘selfish service’?

What does it look like?

Does it bring joy?

“We know … that even the most extreme acts of service fall short of the ultimate ‘profit’ unless they are motivated by the pure love of Christ. If our service is to be most efficacious, it must be unconcerned with self and heedless of personal advantage. It must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children.” (Dallin H Oaks, Pure in Heart [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 47.)

To teach that “love is made sacred through sacrifice,” Sister Franco shares two stories—one about Victoria and one about a widow.

What did you learn about love and sacrifice from these stories?

Have you had any experiences, or do you know of any other stories that teach the same principle?

An example:

‘In the first week of November 1947, ten huge trucks moved across Holland. They headed east and contained a costly cargo—seventy-five tons of potatoes, a gift from the Dutch Church members to the Saints in Germany.

Many months earlier, in the spring of 1947, the members within the Netherlands Mission were asked to begin a welfare project of their own, now that they had received much needed welfare supplies from the members in America. The proposal was welcomed with enthusiasm. The priesthood went to work, and within a short time every quorum had found a suitable piece of land for the project. The recommended crop: potatoes. At the various branches of the Church there was singing, speaking, and praying, at the end of which the potatoes were entrusted to the soil. Soon there came news of good prospects for the harvest, and cautious estimates were made as to how large the yield would be.

During the time the potatoes were growing, Walter Stover, president of the East German Mission, visited the Netherlands Mission in Holland. During his visit, with tears in his eyes, he told of the hunger of the Church members in Germany. They were in worse condition than the Saints in the Netherlands. Supplies had not yet reached the Saints in Germany as quickly as they had the Saints in Holland.

When Cornelius Zappey, the Netherlands Mission president, heard the condition of the German Saints, he couldn’t help but have compassion toward them, knowing how they had suffered. The thought came; the action followed: “Let’s give our potatoes to the members of the Church in Germany.” I’m sure he worried, for the German armies and the Dutch armies had been in conflict with each other. The Dutch had been starving. Would they respond? A Dutch widow who had received a sack of the potatoes heard that the bulk of the potatoes was to be given to the members in Germany, and she stepped forward and said, “My potatoes must be with them.” And this hungry widow returned her sack of potatoes.’ (Thomas S Monson, General Conference, October 1994)

…are we giving our all to the Lord without reservation? Are we sacrificing of our time and talents so the rising generation can learn to love the Lord and keep His commandments? Are we ministering both to those around us and to those we are assigned with care and with diligence—sacrificing time and energy that could be used in other ways? Are we living the two great commandments—to love God and to love His children? Often that love is manifest as service.

What does it mean to give our all to the Lord without reservation?

What reservations do we sometimes have?

President Thomas S. Monson likewise taught that “perhaps when we make face-to-face contact with our Maker, we will not be asked, ‘How many positions did you hold?’ but rather, ‘How many people did you help?’ In reality, you can never love the Lord until you serve Him by serving His people.”

What will matter is that we came with a desire to serve, that we noticed those to whom we minister and greeted them joyfully, and that we introduced ourselves to those sharing our row of folding chairs—reaching out with friendship even though we aren’t assigned to minister to them. And it will certainly matter that we do all that we do with the special ingredient of service coupled with love and sacrifice.

Why would the Lord be more interested in the service we gave than the positions we held?

How could applying the principles in this talk change our ministering efforts?

Serving Him requires all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. [See  Doctrine and Covenants 4:2] Consequently, selflessly serving others counteracts the self-centered and selfish tendencies of the natural man. We grow to love those whom we serve. And because serving others is serving God, we grow to love Him and our brothers and sisters more deeply. Such love is a manifestation of the spiritual gift of charity, even the pure love of Christ. [See  Moroni 7:47] (David A Bednar, General Conference, October 2016)

How can we make serving others a way of life?

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