This is linked with Mosiah 2:17 which says “…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” We are fortunate enough in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be given the opportunities to serve others and, therefore, serve God.
Elder Antoine R. Ivins spoke in the October 1948 General Conference on this matter, saying:
“I would like to be able to say that I always serve for the sheer love of service. I don’t know whether I can honestly say that or not, but I hope I can. I would like to suggest that all of us who serve, serve for the same motive, out of the sheer joy and love of service. I would that every man who accepts a responsibility…would accept it because of the opportunity for service which it offers him; Not be a good bishop, that when the stake is reorganised he may become the president of the stake, because if he serves with that motive, there is very likely to be a day of disappointment for him, but if he serves because he loves to…then whether things come or not, he is never disappointed.”
I love this quote because it really outlines why we should give service. However, it also makes me think of how indebted we are for the greatest service ever given, that was given by our Saviour. He didn’t perform the Atonement for His sins – He didn’t have any! Neither did he do it for glory – He gave that glory to the Father (see Moses 4:2). He did His great work because He loves us. No matter what service we give back to the Saviour, we still “…would be unprofitable servants…” (Mosiah 2:21).
As I went on my two year mission for His Church, one of the many reasons I went was so that I might be able to pay the Lord back, at least a fraction, of what He did for me – simply because of how grateful I was for what He did. Since then, I have served (and am currently serving) in callings which I hoped would go towards paying back my Saviour. And then I came across this quote by President Brigham Young which blew that theory out of the water! He said:
“I would not give the ashes of rye straw for the man who feels that he is making sacrifice for God. We are doing this for our own happiness, welfare and exaltation, and for nobody else’s.”
Humbling words. In the end, no matter what we give and sacrifice, we can’t repay our debt to the Lord. Even if there was some way, the Lord pours out more blessings to us as we sacrifice, so even then our debt just keeps on getting greater!
In conclusion, we are told some relieving news by King Benjamin in Mosiah 2:22 “…all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments…therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” The Lord is happy with our efforts as long as we strive to do our best – as long as we recognise truly that without Him, we would always fall short.