Followers

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

First Observe, Then Serve: The Resurrected Lord


Welcome back to the last post in my "First Observe, Then Serve" series.  To participate in this online discussion, please see my first post of this series with all the information!  Feel free to join our Facebook group, as well, where people from all walks of life are joining the conversation.

Today's post focuses on the resurrected Lord and Mary in the garden.  You can find this story in John chapter 20.

Mary Magdalene came to the tomb of the Savior on the first day of the week.  When she arrived there, she saw that the stone had been rolled away and that Jesus' body was no longer there.  She immediately ran and told His apostles what happened.  After the apostles came and saw that she was correct, and that the linens Christ's body had been wrapped in were still there, they left and went home.  But Mary did not.  She stayed near the tomb.

As she stands at the entrance of the tomb, sobbing and inconsolable, she sees two angels.  They ask her why she is crying.  She tells them she is crying because she doesn't know where Jesus' body has been taken.  There are so many things she could be imagining about what had happened to it. Because she loves the Lord so much, she is overcome with grief.

Mary turns aside and sees another figure.  In her agony, she does not recognize who it is.  He asks her why she is crying.  She begs Him to tell her where the body of the Savior is so that she can bring Him back to the tomb.  In one word, the Savior calms and consoles her.  That one word is her name.

She must have heard the Lord say her name many times.  She immediately knows who He is after this one word.  She turns to Him and says, "Master!"  She knows who He is and what she means to Him.  He tells her not to touch Him, because He has not yet gone to Father in Heaven.  He asks her to tell His apostles what has happened.  She immediately goes and does so.

It is amazing to me that the first person that the risen Lord revealed Himself to was a woman.  What also amazes me is His ability to help her to feel joy after so much sorrow in such a quick way.  There are a few things that I see in this story that help me to become better at observing and then serving.

The first thing I see is that Christ notices that something is wrong.  Now, of course, Mary is sobbing and distraught.  There will be times when we see that in others and are able to help.  The harder thing to do is recognize other signs that mean someone is overwhelmed and help them.

In my life, I have noticed that people usually withdraw when they see intense emotions in others.  What if, instead, we were willing to listen to them so that they can work out feelings and issues?  Feelings are human.  We all have them.  It's not healthy to tell people not to feel.  It is healthy to help them deal with their feelings in an appropriate way.  The Savior did not tell Mary to stop crying.  He allowed her to do so as He comforted her.

The next thing I see is that the Savior asked what was wrong.  So many times we assume that we know what is going on with others.  I have experienced this in my life.  Due to our journey with infertility, many people assume that is what drives my life, as well as my husband's life.  Fortunately, this is not the case.  We have other daily issues that come up and make things difficult, as well.  It has been those people who have actually asked what is going on, instead of assuming, who have been able to help us more fully as we struggle to make it through.  We should never assume that we know a person's heart or what is troubling them.  We should ask, so that we can serve more perfectly.

I also love that Christ knows exactly what to say to comfort Mary.  He doesn't give a long speech about how she should be glad because He's back and how awesome it is that it happened.  He states her name.  He tells her the basics, and doesn't overwhelm her even more.  Learning what to say and when to say it is an incredibly difficult thing to do.  There is only one way to be able to do so--follow the Spirit.

There was a time in my life when I was out visiting with the sister missionaries assigned to my ward.  We went into the home of a sister who was really struggling.  She was very upset and was yelling as she expressed her anger, frustration, and grief.  The poor sister missionaries sat there, looking visibly upset, also.  I sat there praying that I would have the words I needed to say when the time was right.  I did not interrupt, which is difficult for me--just ask anyone who knows me.  I'm working on that.

After this woman, who I dearly love, finished saying what she needed to say, I took a breath, and looked at her.  I said her name, told her I loved her and wished I could take away all the pain.  I then told her that I couldn't do that unless she was willing to also put forth the effort to help herself.  She stopped, looked at me, said, "You are exactly right.  And I don't want to help myself right now."  I will never forget that.  I then said, "When you are ready, I am here."

She immediately started to cry softly, calmed down, and we were able to come up with a plan to help her.  Those words were NOT something I would have said of my own volition.  I tend to want to fix things.  Those words were an answer to prayer.  This experience taught me that fewer words and more listening help to invite the Lord's Spirit to be with me in times when others need me the most.  I am not perfect about doing so, but I am working on it.

The Savior's example of observing and serving is something that is imperative for us to study and take into our daily lives.  And it is incredibly easy to do, if we take small steps each day to be better.  Start in your home.  Express love to your spouse when they have done something to irritate you.  Make your child's bed for them, even if they are able to do so.  Make a phone call to a family member you don't get to speak to regularly.  After you do that, take small steps towards those around you.  I know that out of small things, great changes can be made in our relationships.


That is all that I have for today, and for this series!  I hope that you have gained something from these posts.  I know that they have encouraged me to be better and do more each day.  Now it's your turn one last time. :)  What do you see in this story about the need to first observe, then serve?  I can't wait to hear your thoughts!  Feel free to email me, comment below, or join our Facebook group.  Do what you are comfortable with!  I'll be back next Tuesday with the last installment of this series.  Until then, HUGS and prayers sent your way! :)


P.S.: Please make sure that you keep all comments uplifting and kind.  Assume the best of each other and read all comments in a positive manner.  I truly believe that anyone commenting is only seeking to be understood and heard, not offend. :)

Friday, July 1, 2016

First Observe, Then Serve: The Crucifixion


Welcome back to another post in my "First Observe, Then Serve" series.  To participate in this online discussion, please see my first post of this series with all the information on what to expect over the next four weeks!  Feel free to join our Facebook group, as well, where people from all walks of life are joining the conversation.

This week I want to share my thoughts about Jesus's act of service for His mother at the time of His death.  You can find the account of this in John chapter 19.  This is a very short and to the point act of service and takes place as He is performing His most important act of service--dying for all mankind.

In the midst of all His pain and suffering, the Lord still had time to look down, see His mother, and entrust her care to one of His apostles.  This is amazing to me.  With everything going on, Christ still took the time to be observing and serving those around Him.

Firstly, this act was performed for His mother.  This reiterates to me how service must originate in the home.  Home is our first and greatest responsibility.  Any time we seek to serve, we should look to those closest to us before anyone else.  When we take care of things at home, we are more able to help others and it will not seem to be a burden because we will feel that all is well with those we love the most.  This doesn't mean that we use that as an excuse not to serve.  It just means that there will be times and seasons when serving outside the home will be less possible, and that's ok!  Follow the Spirit, and you can't go wrong.

Secondly, I have learned that importance of always serving--no matter our circumstances.  There have been times that I have been very sick or in pain and service has seemed impossible.  In those times, I have been blessed by the service of others and realized how important it is to always be serving.  If the Savior, in extreme agony, far more than any other man has or will experience here on earth, is capable of performing yet another act of service during His darkest hour, I can do so, too.  This has encouraged me to look outside myself at all times.  Service usually helps me feel happier, and I need to remember to serve when I need it the most, too.  That is the beauty of service--it reminds us of our potential and eternal worth, and benefits all involved.

That is all that I have for today!  What do you see in this story about the need to first observe, then serve?  I can't wait to hear your thoughts!  Feel free to email me, comment below, or join our Facebook group.  Do what you are comfortable with!  I'll be back next Tuesday with the last installment of this series.  Until then, HUGS and prayers sent your way! :)


P.S.: Please make sure that you keep all comments uplifting and kind.  Assume the best of each other and read all comments in a positive manner.  I truly believe that anyone commenting is only seeking to be understood and heard, not offend. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

First Observe, Then Serve: The Woman With the Alabaster Box


Welcome back to another post in my "First Observe, Then Serve" series.  To participate in this online discussion, please see my first post of this series with all the information on what to expect over the next four weeks!  Feel free to join our Facebook group, as well, where people from all walks of life are joining the conversation.

The story for this week comes from Luke chapter 7.  Towards the end of His earthly life, the Savior was invited to eat dinner at one of the Pharisee's homes.  He went, and while they were eating, a woman came and started anointing Christ.  

The host, Simon, was appalled.  He thought to himself that if Jesus really was who He claimed to be, He would NEVER allow a sinner to serve Him.  Christ perceives what His host is thinking and tells a story about a man who forgives two debtors.  One was forgiven a 500 pence debt, the other a 50 pence debt.  The Savior then asks, "Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?"  To which Simon replies, "I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most."

The Savior tells Simon that he is correct.  He points out that, as host, there were some very important duties that Simon had neglected.  This woman, a sinner, filled that role.  He then tells the woman that her sins are forgiven and that she may go in peace.

I love this story.  It is very short and to the point, but is also profoundly deep when looked at more closely.  The Savior knew that this woman would be reviled because of her sins.  The Pharisees are oh so good at finding fault.  Yet the Savior allowed her to serve Him.  And then, later one, He stood up for her and showed that He understood her motives.  

We are all sinners, yet we all should be striving to serve.  How much easier is it to serve when we know people are not questioning our motives?  What if we all decided to think the best of each other instead of trying to place our own motives at the feet of those who serve?  It is a hard thing to do.  We all have opinions, so we all think our way is the best way most of the time.  For myself, this story is a lesson that I need to allow others their agency and serve how they see fit.  When it's my time to serve in the same capacity, I will hope they will afford me the same courtesies.

The other important part I see here is that Christ forgives the woman.  He knew her sins, but He forgave.  Why?  Because of love.  Always love.  Isn't that beautiful?  The Savior loves us SO MUCH that He is willing to forgive us of anything.  We just have to believe in Him and act accordingly.

I ran across a quote earlier today that really struck me.  C.S. Lewis once said, "We all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it."  The Savior is our ultimate example in this.  Let us allow others to serve us, and forgive them their weaknesses as they do so.  We ALL have them, right?!  I know I do.  I feel that forgiveness is such an amazing act of service--not only for the one being forgiven, but for ourselves, also.  And it's something we can do to serve every single day!



That is all I have for you today, friends!  So, what do you see in this story about the need to first observe, then serve?  I can't wait to hear your thoughts!  Feel free to email me, comment below, or join our Facebook group.  Do what you are comfortable with!  I'll be back next Tuesday with the next story in this series.  Until then, HUGS and prayers sent your way! :)


P.S.: Please make sure that you keep all comments uplifting and kind.  Assume the best of each other and read all comments in a positive manner.  I truly believe that anyone commenting is only seeking to be understood and heard, not offend. :)