Wednesday, December 6, 2017

President Howard W. Hunter on giving to others in service

President Howard W. Hunter (1907-1995) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1959.  He served as Church President from June 5, 1994 to his death on March 3, 1995.
"If I were giving an assignment to the young people, it would be to give something to someone tomorrow—to make a gift. I don't mean a gift that we would go to the store to buy and have wrapped in colorful paper and ribbon, I am thinking of the gift we make when we give of ourselves—the greatest gift of all.
"If today's spirituality has meant anything to you, find someone tomorrow and do something for that person. It may be someone at home or it may be a friend. It's an interesting experience to find someone who has wronged us or who has been anything but friendly, and see the change that comes about when you give him a gift.
"The Lord said it is more blessed to give than to receive. We understand that principle. As little children we looked for the thing we were going to receive at Christmas time, but then came the time in our lives when we found more pleasure in giving to someone else. That was when maturity came into our lives and we stepped aside from being self-centered and found it was more blessed to do things for others as the Lord had indicated."
- Howard W. Hunter, "Spiritual Strength of Youth," Australia Area Conference, Sydney, Australia, 2 December 1979; see THWH 71

One of the most frequent reminders we have at Christmastime is the teaching of the Savior as reported by Paul, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (see Acts 20:35). As President Hunter notes, while we may not understand that principle as children, we do come to appreciate it as we mature; experiences of true giving bring such joy and peace, that we quickly understand the Savior's message.  And the additional qualifier is that the greatest gift is to give of the self.

The challenge of giving to someone who may not "deserve" it (in our eyes) is a particularly Christian one. When we learn to overcome the judgments and prejudices that hold us back in our true service and love, we will more nearly approach the level of discipleship that He invites us to follow.

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

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