I once saw a cartoon where a man walks into a bookstore and finds an employee. He says, “Excuse me, could you tell me where to find the self- help section?” The employee answers “Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose?” Self- help books are some of the most popular books these days and there are plenty to choose from.
You can find self-help books for learning a new language, healing your body, memorizing information, or finding your personal destiny. Self-help books are readily available at every bookstore. However, something seems to be missing from the bookshelves, help-others books. With the world’s focus on self, a great truth has been overlooked. This precious truth can be found in a set of ancient writings, the holy scriptures.
It seems that every day people are out there searching for something to find fulfillment. There are a great many ways to distract ourselves from the challenges we face as we search for peace, but one method can truly change our hearts. In Acts 10:38, we read that Jesus went about doing good. Have you ever considered how the Savior of the world was able to fulfill His divine mission? I personally believe that the service He rendered fostered such a great love in His heart for the children of God that there was no question that He would be able to complete His divine purpose. His service to the world and to the individual of His day gave Him the strength He needed. This is something I can relate to.
All of us experience storms and struggles. When I found myself sinking into dark moments or staring at the TV for lack of desire to do anything, or when I haven’t involved myself in something productive, the world becomes a dark and dreary kind of place. What can we do to pull ourselves out of the deep dark?
Succor the weak, lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” - D&C 81:5
Doesn’t that sound like the way our Savior went about “doing good?” The beautiful thing about serving others, as we walk where Jesus walked, as we do the works that His hands would do, these acts can change our natures. Fulfilling? Yes. Life changing? A resounding yes!
About two years ago, my two young sons were going at each other constantly throughout the day. I grew tired of the atmosphere of our home so we sat down to cut out some hearts and pictures of Christ from a Church magazine. We then drove to the home of a newly baptized young adult and plastered her door with the hearts and images. That small act of service changed everything. The spirit filled our hearts and the contention fled. Not only did it bless our family life but our friend was thrilled and didn’t take the pictures off until she moved away.
Similarly, Bryant Hinckley wrote a letter counseling his missionary son, Gordon B. Hinckley, to “forget yourself and go to work.” With his father’s letter in his hand, the young Elder Hinckley got on his knees and made a pledge that he would give himself to the Lord. “The whole world changed,” Elder Hinckley said. “The fog lifted. The sun began to shine in my life. I had a new interest. I saw the beauty of this land. I saw the greatness of the people. I began to feel at home in this wonderful land.” 1
We all knew President Hinckley to have been a great light, a champion for cheerfulness and optimism. We can follow his example and get to work by simply showing love and by emulating the kindness of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Improving ourselves is a great thing. That’s another reason we are here on this mortal journey but with a focus on others instead of self, you can absolutely change the world! If you are struggling to find joy and fulfillment, start serving someone! Pray for them, send a text or call to say hello, smile at them, decorate their door, make them cookies, send them a scripture or thought every day, offer to help with yard work…whatever you come up with, just serve. So, if you are looking for peace and fulfillment, you might just skip the self- help section and go find someone to serve!