Shining moment: The real joy of living

When President Thomas S. Monson was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the October 1963 general conference, then-President of the Church, David O. McKay said, “The true purpose of life is not mere existence. The true purpose of life is the perfection of humanity through individual effort, under the guidance of God’s inspiration. Real life is response to the best within us. To be alive only to appetite, pleasure, pride, money-making, and not to goodness and kindness, purity and love, poetry, music, flowers, stars, God and eternal hopes, is to deprive one’s self of the real joy of living.”

President McKay continued by saying that the greatest joy can be found by losing oneself for the good of others. From that day, this theme has shaped President Monson’s ministry. Since President Monson was called, he consistently urges members to help and uplift those around them. He has shared multiple accounts that encourage members to assist widows, visit neighbors or donate time and materials to those in need.

In his October 2009 general conference address, President Monson echoed the Savior’s words in Luke 9:24 and added, “unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish — and in effect save their lives.”

The Savior was a perfect example of serving others. Throughout His mortal ministry He always took the time to heal, help and lift those around Him. Even while the Savior was on the cross He did not focus on His own pain and suffering, but arranged for His mother’s welfare. As He was dying, Christ made certain that, after He had departed mortal life, John would care for Mary (John 19:26-27).

The commandment to love and serve others is an integral part of being a Latter-day Saint. There are ample opportunities to serve a neighbor, friend or family member. One simply has to look for them. A note or a kind word can be the easiest service to render, but its effects can reach further than one could ever know.

President Monson continued by saying, “That service to which all of us have been called is the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.” By following the Savior’s example in helping others, members’ focus will be on what matters most. Lives will be changed and true joy will be found as the call to serve is answered.