Being A Servant
It used to be that missionaries taught and tracted. That was about it. Fortunately the Lord’s work evolves as quickly as the members are able to bear the evolution. Now the Lord’s servants do more than serve by teaching, they teach by serving. As a member I get a little embarrassed when the missionaries come up to my door and ask if there is some yard work or something else they can do for me. In my mind it is as though the Savior has approached me and asked if He can weed my lawn for me. As much as I don’t want to let them do it, I have realized that this is part of their service, and I need to learn to be gracious about accepting service. It humbles me to have the Lord’s authorized servants outside working in my yard.
Much of the Helping Hands movement in the Church stemmed from missionaries who jumped in and started helping during times of crisis. That attitude of service has changed people’s view of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Governments are opening up to the Church coming into their countries and cities because they have seen that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are good citizens and great neighbors. As a missionary you will not only be given opportunities to serve others, but will be expected to find opportunities to be of service to others. That means you will need to learn to find joy in getting your hands dirty. For some that will be easier than for others.
An important aspect of service that we sometimes forget is that the Spirit can guide us in our service as well as in our teaching and planning. Sometimes going the extra mile on a project or doing some little thing that is just a thoughtful gesture will open doors that otherwise would have stayed shut for who knows how long. The Savior’s most powerful tool in his ministry was his service to others. It is through service that we demonstrate our love for others. It is through service that the Lord will be able to touch people’s hearts and help them open up to the possibilities of listening to your message. Don’t think that getting your hands dirty is just an exercise to keep healthy. In the Lord’s work all avenues can open or shut doors. How you learn to serve others will in large measure determine your success on your mission.
Finally, be happy in your service. One of the most important things you can learn about physical labor is not how to do it, but that you can find joy in doing it. Doing work can be made pleasant if you have good company to talk to. While your hands are occupied your mind is free to roam and think. Working gives you time to contemplate the scriptures, your investigators, those you are serving, and even how you can help your companion. If you can learn to find joy in physical labor you will have accomplished a great thing indeed. That one skill alone will serve you well for the rest of your life. What better time to hone that skill than in the service of your God?