Friday, August 18, 2017

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on patience and preparation in serving others

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) served as a Seventy from 1976-1981, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until his death from cancer in 2004.
"One of the recurring challenges of life for some, both in and out of the Church, is the feeling that they occasionally have that they have more to offer in the way of talent, skill, or insight than they are permitted to give or than is being used by their fellowmen....
"Since patience is one of the traits of a saint (see Mosiah 3:19), it should not surprise us that we must sometimes learn patience not only by physical suffering, but also by sometimes having something to offer which, for one reason or another, we are prevented from offering, at least on the terms we would like to make the contribution. To trust God enough to accept the reality that he knows perfectly both what we have to offer and what we desire is a special form of trust. After all, when we sing in the hymn, 'I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord' (Hymns, no. 75), presumably our pledge includes a willingness to stay right where we are, if that is where the Lord wants us....
"Finally, this should sober us with sweetness: God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability!"
- Neal A. Maxwell, "It's Service, not Status, that Counts," Ensign, July 1975, p. 7
Click here to read the full article

This article presents a fascinating look at service and motivations to serve. One of the things Elder Maxwell considers is our desire to serve more, at times when we seem not to have the opportunity for various reasons. We occasionally feel, "in the hymnal words of Philip Paul Bliss, 'More used would I be.' (Hymns, no. 114)"  At those times when we seem not to have the opportunity to serve as much as we wish we could, we might consider the possible reasons suggested by Elder Maxwell, and also the possible remedies.

This concluding paragraph from the article, though cleverly worded (in Elder Maxwell's unique and wonderful style), points out a great truth. It truly is important for us to "prove our dependability" to God; and when we do, our capability will be enhanced and the opportunities to use those gifts will increase.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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