Finding Joy in His Work

The Lords Work

At this time of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that  Jesus Christ allows me to help with His work.

As a family, we’re filling a basket of blessings after our family meals. I’ve noted the tremendous change in our situation this Thanksgiving from just a year ago when we desperately searched for the answers about how and where to provide for our family.

After reaching our lowest point, answers to years of prayers came overnight through the  diligent action of others. Remembering these kindnesses in words of gratitude on slips of papers doesn’t seem enough. I want to do more.

I’m ready to “forget myself and go to work.”

“How do you find joy in temple and family history work?” A couple of weeks ago in Sunday School our teacher asked this question several times. Someone would give an answer, then he would ask it again.

I started my answer like this, “I find joy in the work when I make it individual, when I find that one-on-one connection with the person I’m serving.”

I’ve held this answer close to my heart, pondering how it is more than a Sunday School answer, but my own expression of how I find joy in life, how I find joy in my family, how I find joy in writing and how I find joy in the work of salvation.

Last month a community of women in the Catholic faith welcomed me and some other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in central Minnesota to visit their morning service and enjoy lunch afterward. The community secretary who organized the visit greeted us by name and paired us each with one of the women in their group, so that they could host us one-on-one.

My hostess sat beside me so that I might be comfortable as we joined them in their worship service of prayer and psalms. As we worshipped alongside them, even though I didn’t share all their beliefs or participate in all their rituals, my personal prayer and pondering on my own faith and covenants brought me a spirit of peace and love for these Sisters and from my Heavenly Father.

I may have thought that individual connection with this lovely Catholic woman who has dedicated her whole life to Jesus Christ was part of my ministering to her, but she really ministered to me. Joy came for both of us as we forgot ourselves and engaged in our shared love of Him, His teachings and His work. The unity I felt came because we both wanted a similar outcome, and we were working together to achieve a relationship based in our common faith in Jesus Christ.

But can I still forget myself when that unity isn’t there? Or when I don’t see the results of the work?  Or it doesn’t bring about the individual connection? Or when my offering isn’t received at all?

Reactions or responses like these often stall me in good works. And then I go right back to thinking of myself and what I’ve done or not done. And true to the teacher that He is, the Savior is giving me opportunities to be a part of His Work and see it as His Work and not my own so that I can forget myself.

Last week I came to the check-out counter at the grocery store. An elderly gentleman set aside his small basket of groceries and returned to the store’s aisles. I asked the clerk, “Did he forgot something? Should I go ahead or wait?”

She told me he forgot his wallet at home.

“Oh, I’ve done that, and it really messes up your day,” I said. Then this thought came. Just pay for them.

I opened my mouth and said it, “I’ll just pay for it.” And then another thought and feeling. Yes, that’s what I wanted you to do.

He didn’t return to collect the groceries before I left. And the Spirit of Christ within me encouraged me not to stay. This wasn’t about me, except for this one lesson—do not worry about the outcome and just find joy in acting on the thought.

His work will go forward without us. In fact, as David A. Bednar saidHe can do His own work. But the Savior would really love for us to want what He wants, not just for ourselves, but to be a part of His blessing of others.

This video is one I’m going to share after our Thanksgiving table is cleared in hopes that it will encourage my children to embrace a natural byproduct of gratitude—compassionate feelings of giving.

Happy Thanks and Happy Giving to all of you.

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2 Comments

  1. Beth King
    Nov 23, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and how we show that love in serving others for Him and not for ourselves. The video was one of those that just make you happy watching… I love the Gospel and how living it, knowing it and sharing it makes me so warm inside.

  2. Teresa
    Nov 23, 2013

    Beth, thank you for your comment! Of course I agree. Happy is a good way to describe serving isn’t it? And I felt that same way watching that video.

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