Friday, January 12, 2018

President Thomas S. Monson on serving others

President Thomas S. Monson (August 21, 1927–January 2, 2018) was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1963. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency with Presidents Benson, Hunter, and Hinckley until becoming Church president in 2008. He led the Church for almost a decade.
"Many years ago I heard a poem which has stayed with me, by which I have tried to guide my life. It's one of my favorites:
"I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody's need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.
"My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord's hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us....
"Just over a year ago, I was interviewed by the Church News prior to my birthday. At the conclusion of the interview, the reporter asked what I would consider the ideal gift that members worldwide could give to me. I replied, 'Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do something for him or her.'"
- Thomas S. Monson, "What Have I Done for Someone Today?", General Conference October 2009
Click here to read and listen to the full talk

Today (January 12, 2018) is the day President Monson's mortal remains will be laid to rest. It seems appropriate that we remember what was probably the primary theme of not just his ministry, but his entire life.

In this excerpt, he shares the poem that included one of the guiding philosophies of his life: noticing the needs of those around him and acting on them with kindness. He reminds us that we are surrounded by family and friends who need attention, encouragement, support, comfort, and kindness.

As we remember President Monson, today when he is buried and in the days and years to come, perhaps we could remember this invitation and challenge. "Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do something for him or her." I am certain President Monson would appreciate that not only as a birthday gift, but as an ongoing legacy.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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