One of my favorite movies is First Knight with Sean Connery, Richard Gere, and Julia Ormond. It makes me cry every time because it’s such a tragic love story. I love King Arthur and want him to be happy, but also want Guinevere and Lancelot to be together because they are obviously in love.
One of the things I love most about this presentation of King Arthur is his love for his people and his desire to teach them to love one another through service to each other. Though it comes wrapped in a Hollywood movie, this is a true doctrine.
Malagant, played by Ben Cross, wants to “liberate” King Arthur’s subjects from having to serve each other. He tells the subjects that they should live for themselves and not have to serve anyone else. What Malagant fails to understand is that selfishness does not bring happiness or peace, while service to one another does.
As I watched this movie recently, I was struck by the similarities to King Benjamin. In Mosiah 2 King Benjamin teaches his people a crucial doctrine, “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” (Mosiah 2:17).
Serving others is an integral part of the gospel. Heavenly Father knows that we love those whom we serve. In order to learn true charity, we must learn to serve. Serving others benefits all involved. Often times, we are providing something that someone cannot provide for himself. This is especially true when we do temple work. Serving others allows us to become more like the Savior.
Selfishness is a cancer that continues to spread across our society. Too many people focus on serving their own needs and ignore the needs of others. Parents fail to teach their children the concept of helping others. Society’s message is to please ourselves, to focus on meeting our own needs, and not worry about others. Is it any wonder that more than half of all marriages end in divorce? We are far too self-absorbed.
Schools, and even our government, in recognition of society’s focus on selfishness, try to institute programs forcing students/people to serve others. Of course, we know it doesn’t work that way. Service should not be coerced, but rather the principles of service should be taught in a loving way.
We need to teach those around us that when we serve others, we are serving God. When we take a meal to someone who is ill, sit with someone who is lonely, change our baby’s diapers, do the laundry, send a birthday card, paint someone’s home, thank our spouse, or offer to babysit for a neighbor we are actually serving God. Opportunities for service continually surround us and each time we take the opportunity to serve, we are blessed with peace and joy.
King Benjamin understood the importance of serving and he taught his people to serve by example. We must do the same. “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
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