This is a talk I was asked to give in an LDS Sacrament Meeting on Mother’s Day 2017.
Last time I spoke in this ward was on Easter Sunday a few years ago. I talked of one of the Savior’s final lessons before the Atonement when he taught, “As I have loved you, love one another.” I would like to continue these remarks today as I speak about our commission to love our Heavenly Father’s children.
On Wednesday, I watched one of Heavenly Father’s children take his first breath as he joined our family here on earth. As I’ve held him and watched him over these past few days, I have marveled at all of the pieces of his seemingly short story in coming to his new home. Not so long ago, he was with his father in heaven and now he is here in this unknown world, vulnerable to virtually everything and entirely dependent on others for his care.
Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours at an activity with the 11 year old scouts. They are a few years beyond little Brigham but their situation remains much the same. They have learned so much in their 11 years here on earth and are constantly learning more. There is still so much more out there to learn and there are still many dangers they have yet to face.
Last Sunday, I received a late night call from my sister-in-law. Her friend has moved out here from Florida. She is a new convert to the church away from her family and even further distanced from a family who understands what she is going through. I was fortunate enough to participate in giving this sister a blessing. In that blessing, I was strongly impressed with the love and connection that Heavenly Father has and and feels for this young woman and the purpose that others play and will play in her motherly care here at BYU-Idaho.
My mother lives in Utah. When I told her that Brigham was about to be born, she immediately left work and almost as quickly drove up to help us with the kids while we were at the hospital and while we began transitioning back into life. I am 33 years old and sometimes I like to think that I am pretty capable and can take care of myself and my family. Gestures like this remind me that I too need and appreciate the care of others and have much to learn in this life.
I’ve watched for weeks now as Katie has received one surprise visit after another. Some are family, some visiting teachers, some are sisters in our ward, and others are friends she hasn’t seen in a long time. Each visit has been different but each one has shared a common theme. Each visit came from somebody who cared and was doing what they could to nurture this daughter of Heavenly Father.
In Mosiah, we read of King Benjamin and his service to his people. In Mosiah 2:17, he tells us:
“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.”
This has been one of our family’s favorite scripture masteries for a little while. We now have older children who have been able to step in and provide real help to my wife and I in all that we have to do. That has made it much easier to understand this principle. Our nine year old knows that when she helps her 2 year old sister get dressed, she is really helping her parents who would otherwise need to perform that same function. Our 7-year-old helps his younger sisters get their toothbrushes ready. Even our 4-year-old helps her younger sister get a bowl of cereal on many days. Each task helps a different child, yet they all provide service to my wife and I. Likewise, when we serve one of Heavenly Father’s children, we are serving him.
Each of our Heavenly Father’s children is precious to Him and he asks for our help in serving each one. Sheri Dew gave a talk in the October 2001 General Conference entitled “Are We Not All Mothers?” in which she said
“Look around. Who needs you and your influence? If we really want to make a difference, it will happen as we mother those we have borne and those we are willing to bear with. If we will stay right with our youth—meaning, if we will love them—in most cases they will stay right with us—meaning, they will let us lead them.”
Sometimes, at the end of a talk like this, there is challenge or charge to go forth and do more. Here among my friends in this ward, I see no place for any such admonition. I do hope that my words have helped you see the good you already do. Though there are a few new faces who I’ll give the benefit of the doubt, I don’t see anybody here who is not in active service of Heavenly Father’s children. You may serve in the nursery or be a primary teacher, or work at the school or in some other youth organization. You may be an Aunt or an Uncle. You may be a father or a mother. I know you all have children in your neighborhood and at church. If somehow that list missed you, I’d invite you to think back through it and remember that we are each children and we each have our own needs and struggles.
There are a lot of different feelings about Mother’s Day but I would like to say thank you to all who mother. Whether you gave birth or have adopted or whether you have simply taken somebody under your wing as a hen does her chicks–whether you mother somebody who is 2, 22, 102 or somewhere in between–you are doing God’s work. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.