Facebook Twitter

‘Service is what Godhood is about’

SHARE ‘Service is what Godhood is about’

In June 1831, the Prophet Joseph received a revelation from the Lord chastising Church members for worldliness and greed. In Doctrine and Covenants 56:16, the Lord declared: "Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!"

During the October 1982 welfare session of general conference, President Marion G. Romney, then second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the relationship between self-reliance and service: "Self-reliance is not the end, but a means to an end. It is very possible for a person to be completely independent and lack every other desirable attribute. One may become wealthy and never have to ask anyone for anything, but unless there is some spiritual goal attached to this independence, it can canker his soul."

President Romney explained: "Thus far, we should have learned that self-reliance is a prerequisite to the complete freedom to act. We have also learned, however, that there is nothing spiritual in self-reliance unless we make the right choices with that freedom. What then should we do once we have become self-reliant in order to grow spiritually?

"The key to make self-reliance spiritual is in using the freedom to comply with God's commandments. The scriptures are very clear in their command that it is the duty of those who have to give to those who are in need.

"The scriptures are full of commandments regarding our obligation to care for the poor; therefore, I will not elaborate further. It has always seemed somewhat paradoxical to me that we must constantly have the Lord command us to do those things which are for our own good.

"Can we see how critical self-reliance becomes when looked upon as the prerequisite to service, when we also know service is what Godhood is all about? Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak."