Today I read Doctrine and Covenants section 57, which contains commands for several of the brethren for the building up of Zion. As I was reading this section I was thinking about several things. I was thinking about the literal gathering of Israel, how people in this last dispensation, when the church was young, were gathered together for their protection. And it surely was needed. This revelation was given in 1831 and in less than 10 years, the Saints would be driven out at gun point from the state of Missouri.
I also thought while reading this section how much the early Saints relied upon the Lord. We have already spoken on this subject and I don't really wish to expound further on it, but it never ceases to amaze me when I read the Doctrine and Covenants just how much the Lord helped the early Saints.
But what stood out most to me in this section was the phrase "no man is an island". I have no idea what the originator of that sentence means, but I have always took it to mean that we are not alone and we cannot survive on our own. We need others to help us on our way. In this section, all the people who are given commands are told to do things for reasons other than to get gain. Sidney Gilbert was commanded to open a store to raise money. W. W. Phelps was commanded to open a printing press. Now, both professions could be quite lucrative if they were to open those places of business for the purpose to get gain. But both men were commanded to do these things with the intent to further the work of the Lord.
Yesterday in Elders Quorum meeting, we had a lesson on service. The instructor started out by listing on the board who do we serve. He next asked how do we serve and finally why do we serve. As you can imagine we had all kinds of reasons up on the board. He also read a talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, the first talk he gave as a general authority in the church according to the instructor, wherein he listed 6 reasons that we serve. It was a really good lesson but we never really covered how if we serve we will grow to love the people we are serving. It always blows my mind when I read horrible news stories, or more often than not, headlines, of mothers doing evil things to their children, especially infants and toddlers because they spend all their time serving the child they should be growing to love the child. Of course in this day and age where lifesyle is more important than quality of life and the mother leaves the home to work, perhaps the all important bond of mother and child is not being formed like it should be.
The reason I bring this up is because the Lord is asking these brethren to perform a great service for others. It's no different than if you were a car mechanic to the Lord telling you to open up a garage and give all your proceeds to the church. Or any other number of professions. It would be really hard to do I think. And yet that is what these men did. It's a little hard to disregard a direct commandment from the Lord. But it brings up another thought, no man, or woman, can make it on their own. Going back to our no man is an island statement, mankind needs fellow human beings to help. Just as a brand new baby needs his/her parents to assist and get through life, so too do we need other human beings to help and assist us. Despite the misnomer of "self made man", there is not a single person on this planet that has done everything for themselves. Everyone has had some kind of assistance at one point or another. But that is all part of God's plan. That is why it feels so nice to perform service for others.
As we lose ourselves in service to others, we stop worrying about the cost, both monetary and otherwise, of providing that service. We instead start worrying about the welfare of those we are serving, we start looking at them more like Christ does. And that's the way it should be since we are all working towards becoming more Christlike. After all, if you think about it, does God do anything for himself? Perhaps He does, but we don't know about it. As we grow to be more Christlike, we will want to give more and more service to those around us and we will grow in love for those we do serve too. We will grow to love them more too. Until tomorrow.