The Savior Jesus Christ, during his ministry, taught His disciples:
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”
Thomas S. Monson said:
“I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.”
David O. McKay also said:
“Man’s greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the good of others.”
From his Conference Address, Thomas S. Monson shared the story of Jack McConnell, MD:
Jack McConnell, MD, grew up in the hills of southwest Virginia in the United States as one of seven children of a Methodist minister and a stay-at-home mother. Their circumstances were very humble. He recounted that during his childhood, every day as the family sat around the dinner table, his father would ask each one in turn, “And what did you do for someone today?” The children were determined to do a good turn every day so they could report to their father that they had helped someone. Dr. McConnell calls this exercise his father’s most valuable legacy, for that expectation and those words inspired him and his siblings to help others throughout their lives. As they grew and matured, their motivation for providing service changed to an inner desire to help others.
Besides Dr. McConnell’s distinguished medical career—where he directed the development of the tuberculosis tine test, participated in the early development of the polio vaccine, supervised the development of Tylenol, and was instrumental in developing the magnetic resonance imaging procedure, or MRI—he created an organization he calls Volunteers in Medicine, which gives retired medical personnel a chance to volunteer at free clinics serving the working uninsured. Dr. McConnell said his leisure time since he retired has “evaporated into 60-hour weeks of unpaid work, but [his] energy level has increased and there is a satisfaction in [his] life that wasn’t there before.” He made this statement: “In one of those paradoxes of life, I have benefited more from Volunteers in Medicine than my patients have.”2 There are now over 70 such clinics across the United States.
Of course, we can’t all be Dr. McConnells, establishing medical clinics to help the poor; however, the needs of others are ever present, and each of us can do something to help someone.
The Apostle Paul admonished:
“By love serve one another.”
King Benjamin said:
“When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
So the admonition to us is simple.
We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers.
We are encouraged to we ask ourselves the question which greeted Dr. Jack McConnell and his brothers and sisters each evening at dinnertime:
“What have I done for someone today?”
Let us remember these words from a familiar hymn:
Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?
I hope our answer is yes!
And the best form of service is doing something without expecting anything in return. That is selfless service!
(Part of this article is taken from the Conference Talk by Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints during the most recent Semi Annual General Conference, Sunday Morning Session)