In our Church every year there is a scripture that acts as the theme for the year. The theme this year is Doctrine and Covenants 4:2. This is one of my favorite sections in the scriptures.
Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
—Doctrine and Covenants 4:2
Elder Bednar said, “My earnest hope for each of you is that you will not simply go on a mission—but that you will become missionaries long before you submit your mission papers, long before you receive a call to serve, long before you are set apart by your stake president, and long before you enter the MTC.”
Although this section in the Doctrine and Covenants is about missionary work, I believe that it can apply to all of us, whether we serve a full time mission or not. In John chapter 21 Christ tells His apostles, If ye love me—Feed my sheep. We are all Christ’s sheep. To me when He says “Feed my sheep” it means to take care of each other, to share the gospel with everyone, and to serve everyone. This year’s theme is all about serving.
Let’s break this scripture apart and see what it is really saying:
“O ye that embark…”
Embark is an action word. It means to start a journey, to leave, to set sail, to go! This year our journey will be focusing on serving God, and as King Benjamin said, “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
“In the service of God…”
One of my favorite missionaries is Ammon, from the Book of Mormon. When he went to the Lamanites he didn’t go and tell them how wicked they were, or that they were doing everything wrong. He went there and said that he wanted to serve them. He simply said to King Lamoni, “I will be thy servant.” (Alma 17:25) After Ammon served them, they were willing to listen. I love the quote that says “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Jesus Christ served all of His life, and he calls us to do the same. I know that we gain a strong love for people when we serve them.
“See that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength…”
God wants you to give your all when you serve.
The heart is the center of our emotions. When we serve with all our heart we serve with enthusiasm, courage, and spirit. As author John Bytheway put it, “We are commanded to serve with all our heart, and the heart of missionary work is charity, or the pure love of Christ. Charity is three-dimensional: it encompasses love for Christ, love from Christ, and love like Christ. In other words, to experience the pure love of Christ means to feel Christ’s love for you, to love Christ purely yourself, and to love others purely as Christ loves them.”
Might is our strength, power, or the ability to accomplish something. When we serve with might, we work hard and never give up.
If we are going to serve with our mind we must gain a knowledge or understanding. But God doesn’t send you on a mission because you are an expert, He sends you on a mission to be a witness of Christ. We covenant to “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” (Mosiah 18:9) We should always strive to stand as a witness of God.
Strength is spiritual as well as physical. We all have trials. Our trials are given to us to make us strong. Missions are hard, and life in general is hard. But when we ask for strength from God, He will help us overcome our trials.
“That ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.”
Isn’t that a wonderful phrase? God says that if we serve with everything we have we will stand blameless before Him. We will stand blameless because of obedience. President Ezra Taft Benson said,
“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour our peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life.”
I am excited for this year, and I hope that you are too! I invite you all to apply this in your life, and focus on serving God with all your heart, might, mind and strength.