Yesterday was the last day I’ll see my youngest brother for the next two years. Why, you ask? Because he’s chosen to spend two years of his life serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Our only communication these next two years will be weekly emails and phone calls twice per year – on Mother’s Day and Christmas.
As I’ve talked with many not of the LDS faith about my brother’s missionary opportunity, questions have surfaced about why we as members of the LDS faith serve missions and fully consecrate 18 months or 2 years of our lives to serve. To answer this question, I would like to pose a series of “What if” questions to those seeking to understand why we choose to serve…
What if you believed that we – all of us here on this earth – were spiritually created by a Supreme Being? And what if you believed we lived with Him before we came to earth. In addition, what if you believed our ultimate goal as children of God, the Supreme Being, was to return and live with Him again, and what if you believed that doing so would bring us the greatest joy imaginable?
What if you realized that while many people around you didn’t believe in God, they too were created by Him and would one day experience the greatest joy by living with Him again? Would you feel the need to share this message with those around you if you believed that no matter how happy they seem right now, their greatest joy will come from returning and living with God again?
I think the answer to the above question is yes, you would feel the need to share this message. I believe this is the case because everyday my life is touched by people of many different faiths and ideologies who want me to be truly happy. I believe the world is full of genuinely good people. And I believe that the vast majority (if not all) of you reading this blog post would absolutely say, “If I believed these things to be true, I would share this message because I want those around me to have joy.”
We as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that what I’ve shared above is true. We are spirit children of God. We came to earth to receive bodies and to learn to walk by faith. Our greatest joy will come from living with God again. It is through Jesus Christ that this is all possible. For this reason, we choose to serve missions.
We choose to serve because we believe that you are our spiritual brother or sister, and we want you to feel our Heavenly Father’s love. We choose to serve because we know that life here on earth can be dark and sad, and that true light and hope come through Jesus Christ. We choose to serve because we know that through service we can better understand the Master Servant, Jesus Christ, who’s life and love we seek to emulate. We choose to serve because we recognize that all our strength and blessings come from God, and we can make nothing of ourselves without Him. We choose to serve because we believe that is what God would want us to do.
I am grateful for those of all faiths who have shared their beliefs with me. I am thankful for these courageous individuals who open up and invite me to experience the happiness they’ve found.
The next time an LDS missionary knocks on your door, I hope you’ll realize they are there because they love you. They wouldn’t give years of theirs lives to share this message if they didn’t love you. They wouldn’t go without seeing their family for many, many months if they didn’t believe that the message they are sharing would benefit your family for eternity and bring you the greatest joy imaginable.
For these reasons, and so many others, we choose to serve.
p.s. Watch this great video and you can learn from missionaries in their own words why they choose serve.
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