“For those of us who have watched news of recent events and have felt helpless to know what to do, the answer might actually be right before us.” —Bonnie L. Oscarson
What can one person do against the impossibly dark flood of war, disease, poverty, and hate? Christ answers with a simple yet illuminating principle: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:24).
Most of us can’t donate thousands of dollars to the relief of the homeless or fight on the front lines of a battle; but through heartfelt service, we each can give our time to the people around us.
In her General Conference address titled “The Needs Before Us,” Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson explains, “I believe that most members consider service to be at the heart of their covenants and discipleship. But I also think that sometimes it’s easy to miss some of the greatest opportunities to serve others because we are distracted or because we are looking for ambitious ways to change the world and we don’t see that some of the most significant needs we can meet are within our own families, among our friends, in our wards, and in our communities.”
We need not look any further than the people in our day-to-day lives. Some of the best service we can provide is through spreading our light to those around us. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” If we each lift where we stand, together we can fight back the ever-growing tide of darkness and replace it with the light of Christ’s love.
Here are a few simple ideas from Sister Oscarson’s talk to get you started:
- Pray daily about whom you can serve, and ask God to inspire you on how best to serve them.
- Check in and have a brief conversation with someone in your life—even if it is a simple text expressing your appreciation or sharing something uplifting!
- Attend church meetings and activities with the mindset of “Who needs me today?”
As Sister Oscarson said, “Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.” As we lose our lives in service to those around us, God fills us with light and gives us the power to change the tide in a darkening world.
Read the rest of Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson’s inspired address “The Needs Before Us” about making a difference by serving the people around us.
Source: General Conference
—Rebecca Watkins, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY J W
Find more insights
Read more on Latter-Day Saint Insights about turning outward in service in this article by Jenna Koford titled “Becoming Like Christ.”
Learn about ministering like Christ in this Latter-Day Saint Insights article titled “How Can I Minister As Christ Did?” by Avery Andros.