Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spencer W. Kimball on the paradox of service

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"A striking personality and good character is achieved by practice, not merely by thinking it. Just as a pianist masters the intricacies of music through hours and weeks of practice, so mastery of life is achieved by the ceaseless practice of mechanics which make up the art of living. Daily unselfish service to others is one of the rudimentary mechanics of the successful life. 'For whosoever will save his life,' the Galilean said, 'shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.' (Matthew 16:25.) What a strange paradox this! And yet one needs only to analyze it to be convinced of its truth....
"Only when you lift a burden, God will lift your burden. Divine paradox this! The man who staggers and falls because his burden is too great can lighten that burden by taking on the weight of another's burden. You get by giving, but your part of giving must be given first."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "The Abundant Life," commencement at Safford, AZ, High School, 1939; see TSWK pp. 250-51

It's particularly compelling when you hear or read a sermon preached by someone who exemplifies the qualities being described. That is certainly the case when President Kimball talked about "The Abundant Life" and how it includes service, commitment, a life-long demonstration of practice, and faithful endurance. Noble character doesn't just appear; it requires effort, practice, and training — particularly "daily unselfish service":

President Kimball had much personal insight into both giving and receiving service. The paradox of gaining strength by taking on greater burdens is a key insight into how we best cope with the challenges of this life.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I'm impressed. You're truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. I'm saving this for future use.



// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15