- I believe there is one simple but profound—even sublime—principle that encompasses the entirety of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we wholeheartedly embrace this principle and make it the focus of our lives, it will purify and sanctify us so we can live once again in the presence of God.
- It is only when we love God and Christ with all of our hearts, souls, and minds that we are able to share this love with our neighbors through acts of kindness and service—the way that the Savior would love and serve all of us if He were among us today.
- When this pure love of Christ—or charity—envelops us, we think, feel, and act more like Heavenly Father and Jesus would think, feel, and act. Our motivation and heartfelt desire are like unto that of the Savior.
Elder Ballard gives us several examples of ways that we can serve and love others.
- First, charity begins at home. The single most important principle that should govern every home is to practice the Golden Rule—the Lord’s admonition that “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Take a moment and imagine how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of thoughtless words or actions. By our example, let us teach our family members to have love one for another.
- Another place where we have ample opportunity to serve is in the Church. Our wards and branches should be places where the Golden Rule always guides our words and actions toward each other. By treating each other kindly, speaking words of support and encouragement, and being sensitive to each other’s needs, we can create loving unity among ward members. Where charity exists, there is no place for gossip or unkind words.
- A third area where we can serve is in our communities. As a pure expression of our love and concern, we can reach out to those who have need of our help.
Elder Ballard points out that friendships can be built and strengthened when we serve those that need our attention. He encourages us to build friendships as we serve those in need.
- Through our heartfelt kindness and service, we can make friends with those whom we serve. From these friendships come better understanding of our devotion to the gospel and a desire to learn more about us.
He gives us one more way that we can serve others.
- Another way we can serve Heavenly Father’s children is through missionary service—not only as full-time missionaries but also as friends and neighbors. The future growth of the Church will not happen through just knocking on strangers’ doors. It will happen when the members, along with our missionaries, filled with the love of God and Christ discern needs and respond to those needs in the spirit of charitable service.
Whatever we do in our lives, we need to make sure we are listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will help us understand what we need to do to help those in need.
- In all of our service, we need to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The still, small voice will let us know who needs our help and what we can do to help them.
Elder Ballard speaks about the gift of charity and that our entire goal in providing service to others is to be filled with this love that the Savior has demonstrated.
- Brothers and sisters, may I reemphasize that the most important attribute of Heavenly Father and of His Beloved Son that we should desire and seek to possess within our lives is the gift of charity, “the pure love of Christ.” From this gift springs our capacity to love and to serve others as the Savior did.
Elder Ballard concludes with this statement.
- Our small and simple acts of kindness and service will accumulate into a life filled with love for Heavenly Father, devotion to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a sense of peace and joy each time we reach out to one another.
Charity is a principle of the gospel that I gained great insight into while serving a mission. I witnessed so many kind acts of service that were pure demonstrations of charity. All around us there are people that are serving others because they love God and Jesus Christ. Our goal is to become the type of person that helps and serves others because we love the Savior. If we are to become like our Savior, we need to act the He would act, say things He would say, and serve like He would serve. We are blessed to know how He lived His life so we can follow in His footsteps.