- To hold the priesthood of God is to be held responsible by God for the eternal lives of His children. That is real, that is wonderful, and at times that can feel overwhelming.
He gives us three assurances about what we can expect to achieve when we serve in the priesthood of God.
- You and the priesthood bearers you are called to lead can have at least three assurances. First, the Lord will give you, if you ask, the feelings of compassion He feels for those in need. Second, He will provide others to join with you in your service. And third, the Lord will more than recompense all who join in giving help to those in need.
He speaks about difficult times that we will be called on to provide caring in the Lord's way. He speaks about a scenario where we have to help a family move at the last minute and we have way to many other commitments on the calendar. He assures us that the Lord will provide direction in these moments. He will soften the hearts of our families, provide direction on who we should ask to assist us, and give us a warm sense of compassion that will bless all those we come in contact with.
- You cannot know all your quorum members perfectly well, but God does. So, as you have done so many times, you prayed to know whom to ask to help serve others. The Lord knows who will be blessed by being asked to help and whose family will be blessed by not being asked. That is the revelation you can expect to come to you as you lead in the priesthood.
He speaks of missionary service but I liken his counsel to priesthood service as well.
- You will go to thousands of people in great spiritual need. Many, until you teach them, will not even know that they have spiritual wounds that, left untreated, will bring endless misery. You will go on the Lord’s errand to rescue them. Only the Lord can bind up their spiritual wounds as they accept the ordinances that lead to eternal life.
He tells us that a key to helping others is to have our home in proper order first.
- As a quorum member, as a home teacher, and as a missionary, you cannot help people repair spiritual damage unless your own faith is vibrant. That means far more than reading the scriptures regularly and praying over them. The prayer in the moment and quick glances in the scriptures are not preparation enough. The reassurance of what you will need comes with this counsel from the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants: “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.” That promise can be claimed only if we “treasure up” the words of life and do it continually.
President Eyring speaks of the need for compassion. He notes that this is difficult for many priesthood holders.
- Even the best of Heavenly Father’s mortal priesthood holders do not rise to that standard of compassion easily. Our human tendency is to be impatient with the person who cannot see the truth that is so plain to us. We must be careful that our impatience is not interpreted as condemnation or rejection.
He concludes by telling us that we will become more compassionate, we will be move caring, we will have the spirit with us more, as we are charitable and serve God with all our hearts. Our best efforts are what the Lord expects.
- As we prepare to give succor for the Lord as His priesthood servants, there is a scripture to guide us. It contains a gift we will need for our journey, wherever the Lord will send us. The good Samaritan had that gift. We will need it, and the Lord has told us how we can find it:
- “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail-- But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.”
In my service in my ward, I have been called on to provide support and help to those in need. I have found that I have been guided to know who can assist me and who I should call on to move the work forward. As President Eyring points out, many priesthood holders struggle with compassion, and I am one of those that needs to learn a few things from the spirit. I need to be instructed over time to learn these traits and skills so that I can be of better service to the Lord. I have spoken with great leaders as I have been asked to go with them to minister to those in need. Each has spoken about their need to listen to the spirit, to say the things that the spirit directs, and to let the spirit share the warmth of the Savior through our visit. I will continue to learn to become more compassionate as I continue to serve in the Lord's kingdom. I am grateful for great people along my path that have assisted me already in life on how to become more Christlike in this manner.