Jul 23, 2009

Service is Joy

by Stephanie Abney

“I slept and dreamt that life was a joy,
I awoke and saw that life was service,
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

Someone posted this on FaceBook recently and then I went to the doctor’s office today for some routine blood work and in the lab where they drew my blood this same quote was on the wall... Is someone trying to tell me something? Naw, I already know and believe this to be true.

It is in giving service that we experience some of our greatest joys and dearest blessings. It reminds me of something I heard when attending the non-LDS wedding of some friends. The Lord is always ready and willing to teach us something. Sometimes the lessons come in the most unexpected places, as in the wedding I mentioned:

Jim and I went to a wedding last summer ~ Troy and Lynda ~ they are not of our faith. It was held in a Lutheran Church. As a life-long member of the Church I always find non-temple, non-LDS wedding ceremonies interesting; many I have observed are very sweet - not the same as the eternal blessings pronounced in the temple, but sweet, nonetheless. This was such a wedding. I sat there enjoying the ceremony and the priest said a couple of rather profound things. One thing he said was that marriage was not given to us to make us happy. Rather, marriage is a gift from God to make us holy… and that would make us happy. A typical definition of holy is “dedicated or devoted to the service of God.” I really like that. In marriage, if we strive to become holy, then happiness is a natural progression. It makes sense. We are told in scripture that “Men [and women] are, that they might have joy.” It also says in Mosiah 2:41 (one of my favorite scriptures): “… consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

I can’t think of a better “gift” than one that would make us holy and prepare us for an eternity of happiness with our eternal companions. And marriage is a pretty good place to get the prickles and rough spots rubbed right off of ya’.

Now, I recognize that not all of us marry in this life. I have a sister and a sister-in-law and several friends who although not married, can probably think of someone in their lives that has had the same effect that by learning to get along with that person, it has brought them closer to the Lord, hence made them more holy and resulted in greater joy.

Yes, service is joy.


  1. Yes Stephanie you are so right. I have lived with my dad due to his health for about 14 years now. He's lasted longer than he thought he would, ha. But a dual lesson was learned by me, how to get along with a man and a dad as an adult. It has definitely made me a better person.

  2. Have you ever noticed how wonderful it is to do something for somebody else and how hard it is to ask somebody to help you? Yet, nobody can serve well unless someone is willing to accept the service. It's quite a paradox.

    I had a cousin who was well into her eighties, had never married but had served her parents to the end of their days, as well as being a surrogate mother to her brother's three little boys, including twin babies, when their mother died. The older children stayed with their father, but they lived close by. Letha was a wonderful woman.

    The scout troop saw that her house paint was peeling, and voted to paint her house for her. They bought paint, brought their equipment, and were ready to go to work, but she wouldn't let them. Maybe it was the surprise, or the fact that they didn't ask ahead of time, but she disappointed a bunch of boys. She died with her house still unpainted.

    I've probably misjudged her, but I think I would have let them paint, even if it had to be done all over again.

    But then, I've always been an odd ball.


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