Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. … Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’
Each of us should apply that principle to our attitudes in attending church. Some say “I didn’t learn anything today” or “No one was friendly to me” or “I was offended” or “The Church is not filling my needs.” All those answers are self-centered, and all retard spiritual growth.
In contrast, a wise friend wrote:
“Years ago, I changed my attitude about going to church. No longer do I go to church for my sake, but to think of others. I make a point of saying hello to people who sit alone, to welcome visitors, . . . to volunteer for an assignment. . . .
“In short, I go to church each week with the intent of being active, not passive, and making a positive difference in people’s lives. Consequently, my attendance at Church meetings is so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.”
All of this illustrates the eternal principle that we are happier and more fulfilled when we act and serve for what we give, not for what we get.
Very little love can come from one who is not at peace with himself or herself and God. As Enos learned, no one can be concerned about the welfare of someone else and give love to another until he or she has taken care of his or her own soul. Thus, our preparation for an eternal marriage must include repenting, learning, acquiring faith, and developing the security that comes with a vision of our potential as children of a Heavenly Father. Only when we love God above all others, as the Savior taught (see Matt. 22:34–40), will we be capable of offering pure, Christlike love to our companions for all eternity.
Indeed, it may be our own capacity to give love that makes us most lovable. The greater our own personal substance is and the deeper our own mental, emotional, and spiritual reserves are, the greater will be our capacity to nurture and love others, especially our companion. President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency posed a question that puts our ability to genuinely care about others in perspective: “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” (Ensign, Nov. 1982, p. 93).
The teachings of Christ suggest that we should begin our search for an eternal companion with greater concern about our ability to give love than about our need to receive it. Of the Savior, John wrote: “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19).
Now, this is not an idle dream. We have the resources through the goodness and kindness of wonderful and generous friends. We have the organization. We have the manpower and dedicated servants of the Lord to make it succeed. It is an all-volunteer effort that will cost the Church practically nothing. We pray humbly and gratefully that God will prosper this effort and that it will bring blessings, rich and wonderful, upon the heads of thousands just as its predecessor organization, the Perpetual Emigration Fund, brought untold blessings upon the lives of those who partook of its opportunities....
It is our solemn obligation, it is our certain responsibility, my brethren, to "succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees" (D&C 81:5). We must help them to become self-reliant and successful.
'It is a desire to sacrifice for others, to render service and to possess a feeling of universal brotherhood. It consists of a willingness to forget what you have done for others, and to remember what others have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and think only of your duties in the middle distance, and your chance to do good and aid your fellow-men in the foreground--to see that your fellow-men are just as good as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts--to close your book of grievances against the universe, and look about you for a place to sow a few seeds of happiness, and go your way unobserved. [Clarence Baird, "The Spirit of Christmas," Improvement Era, 23:154 (December 1919)]'
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