Going about doing good

The question "Why am I here on earth?" could be answered in a hundred different ways. Certainly as every faithful Latter-day Saint knows, we are here to obtain a mortal body and to gain experiences whereby we can prove ourselves worthy to someday return to our Father in Heaven's presence.

As we travel the path of mortality seeking that divine destination, "we believe in . . . doing good to all men." (See Articles of Faith 13.) Therefore, one of the answers to the question "Why am I here?" surely has to be to do good to mankind.The opportunities to help others are all about us.

There are tears to dry and souls to comfort. There are pains to ease and wounds to heal. There are burdens to lift and balm to administer.

"Have I done any good in the world today?" the lyricist asks. "Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed." (Hymns, No. 223.)

Giving service to others is an important part of the gospel, an important part of life.

Recently, a couple read in a newspaper that the homeless shelter in their city was in need of towels. A towel seemed like such a small thing, something that most of us take for granted every time we dry our hands. But in the homeless shelter, it was different. Simply, there were not enough towels to go around, and many, including families, did not have a single towel to their name.

The couple wanted to do something so they organized what they called "Throw in the Towel" project. They asked their friends in their middle-class neighborhood to donate either a towel or the money to buy one. When word got around what they were doing, others on their own volunteered to participate. The project was a great success. Towels were given, but hearts were touched - not only the hearts of the receivers, but also the hearts of the givers. And perhaps not only were hands dried on the towels, but also tears because somebody cared.

"There are chances for work all around just now, Opportunities right in our way. Do not let them pass by, saying, `Sometime I'll try,' But go and do something today." (Ibid.)

The opportunities to do something are endless.

From donating generously to the fast offering fund, which is the Lord's way of financially providing for the poor and needy, to clearing the snow off an elderly widow's sidewalk, we can do much to help others. From tending a terminally ill child so the mother can get a break to helping the neighboring farmer get in his hay before the rain comes, we can make the load of others lighter. From faithfully serving in our Church assignments to volunteering our time in any of hundreds of worthwhile causes, we can do much good in the world.

During His mortal ministry, Jesus "went about doing good . . . for God was with him." (See Acts 10:38.)


The SaviorT gave freely and lovingly," President Howard W. Hunter said at the First Presidency Christmas devotional in 1994, "and His gifts were of inestimable value. He gave eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, and legs to the lame; cleanliness to the unclean, wholeness to the infirm, and breath to the lifeless. His gifts were opportunity to the downtrodden, freedom to the oppressed, forgiveness to the repentant, hope to the despairing, and light in the darkness. He gave us love, His service and His life. And most important, He gave us and all mortals resurrection, salvation and eternal life."

In our own individual ways, we, too, can go about doing good just as the Savior did, although our offerings will not be of the same magnitude as His, and surely the Lord will be with us in our efforts.

And isn't that what the gospel is all about? Caring, helping others, lifting burdens. Doing good.

And from doing good, we can learn some valuable lessons in our own lives - love, charity, unselfishness, kindness, compassion, tolerance and patience, to mention just a few. These are characteristics that help us draw closer to the Savior, and, hopefully, will help us become more like Him.

"Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, A blessing of duty and love." (Hymns, No. 223.)

What better clarion call could we have as we approach the coming holiday season and our hearts are turned to the Savior? Our thanks to the Master who gave His life that we might live - an infinite and supreme sacrifice that we cannot understand - is best expressed in our love, obedience and devotion to Him.

Doing good to others is a way, however small it may be, to attempt to emulate His life.

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