Saturday, October 15, 2016

Robert D. Hales on serving one another by teaching with love

Elder Robert D. Hales (b. August 24, 1932) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1985, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
"As we follow Jesus Christ, His love motivates us to support each other on our mortal journey. We cannot do it alone (See 1 Corinthians 12:12)....
"'Teach[ing] one another the doctrine of the kingdom' (D&C 88:77) is a way to love and serve each other. Parents and grandparents, we tend to bemoan the state of the world—that schools are not teaching moral character. But there is much we can do. We can take advantage of the teaching moments in our own families—that means now. Don’t let them slip by. When an opportunity comes to share your thoughts about the gospel and the lessons of life, stop everything, sit down, and talk with your children and grandchildren.
"We should not worry that we are not professionally trained gospel teachers. No training class or manual is as helpful as personally studying our scriptures, praying, pondering, and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will lead you along. I promise you: the calling to be a parent includes the gift to teach in the ways that are right for you and for your children. Remember, God’s power to influence us righteously is His love. 'We love him, because he first loved us' (1 John 4:19)....
"Let us remember, the most important work we do in our families is through the power of the Holy Ghost. Whenever we raise our voices in anger, the Spirit leaves our companionships and families. When we speak in love, the Spirit can be with us. Let us remember that our children and grandchildren measure our love by how much devoted time we give them. Above all, don’t lose patience and don’t give up!"
- Robert D. Hales, "'Come, Follow Me' by Practicing Christian Love and Service," General Conference October 2016
Click here to read or hear the complete talk

Elder Hales talked about various forms of "Christian service" that are open to us as we strive to follow the Savior's example of blessing our families, our brothers and sisters, and those all around us. I particularly enjoyed this segment about serving those closest to us in our family settings.

One of the most important acts of service is to teach gospel doctrine to one another, particularly those who are younger and still able to be formed and influenced in good ways. I was very impressed by this suggestion that we look for the moments in the midst of normal activities when we can pause to teach a message or share a personal experience and a testimony:

As we listen to the promptings to teach and share, we will be given help and inspiration in those settings with the words and the ways to make a difference: " the calling to be a parent includes the gift to teach in the ways that are right for you and for your children." The growing, cumulative impact of these moments will bless more than we realize. Words spoken in love and patience, and time devoted to show genuine interest and concern, will help to set feet firmly on the path of discipleship.

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