How Do We Show Our Love?

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President Thomas S. Monson

We have a responsibility to prove to our Heavenly Father, by the things we do, that we love Him.

We demonstrate our love by how well we serve our God. Remember when the Prophet Joseph Smith went to John E. Page and said to him, "Brother Page, you have been called on a mission to Canada."

Brother Page, struggling for an excuse, said, "Brother Joseph, I can't go to Canada. I don't have a coat to wear."

The Prophet took off his own coat, handed it to John Page, and said, "Wear this, and the Lord will bless you."

John Page went on his mission to Canada. In two years he walked something like 5,000 miles and baptized 600 converts. He was successful because he responded to an opportunity to serve his God.

We had a missionary in our mission who was particularly devoted and obedient. I said to him one time, "Elder, what is the source of your motivation?"

"Brother Monson," he replied, "I slept in one morning. As I did so, my mind turned to thoughts of my mother and my father, who are operating a little cleaning establishment, working around the clock to earn sufficient money to support me on a mission. As I thought of my parents performing that strenuous work in my behalf, all signs of laziness left me; and I determined that I had an opportunity to serve the Lord in my behalf and in behalf of my own mother and my own father."

Harry Emerson Fosdick said: "Until willingness overflows obligation, men fight as conscripts rather than following the flag as patriots. Duty is never worthily performed until it is performed by one who would gladly do more if only he could."

In short, we need to extend ourselves in service to our Heavenly Father if we are to demonstrate our love for Him.

...He who hears our silent prayers, He who observes our unheralded acts will reward us openly when the need comes.

Another example is a family in the mission over which I presided, a family by the name of Agnew. They were difficult people to convert. William Agnew, particularly, would not listen to the missionaries, but finally he consented to attend our Sunday School with his wife, three children, and the two missionaries. However, when the missionaries came on Sunday morning to escort the family to the chapel, there had been a little disagreement in their home. Brother Agnew had insisted, "I will not go to the Mormon Sunday School."

His wife replied, "But you promised, Bill. You promised these young men that you would go."

"I'm not going, and that's that!" he said. He became rather angry, but somewhat reluctantly he permitted his wife and children to go to Sunday School. He later told me of the events of that morning. He said, "When my wife and children shut the door and left me alone in the living room, I had nothing good to say about the Mormon faith. I was about as angry a man as one could imagine. I picked up the morning newspaper to see if I could read about the problems of the world and get my mind off religion, but it was to no avail. I kept thinking, my wife and my children have gone to meet with the Mormons. I than went into my daughter Isabel's bedroom. I thought that perhaps I could turn on the news and hear something different. As I turned on the little radio on her nightstand, what do you think I heard? The Mormon Tabernacle Choir! What message do you think I heard? Richard L. Evans spoke on the subject 'Let Not the Sun Go Down on Thy Wrath.' I felt as though the Lord were talking to me personally. I got down upon my knees and promised my Heavenly Father that I would no longer rail against Him—that I would do what these young missionaries had taught me to do."

When his wife and children returned from Sunday School, they found a new husband and a new father. They couldn't understand why he was in such a pleasant mood. Finally they asked him what had happened to change his attitude.

He said: "I'll tell you. I was so upset when you left that I read the paper in an attempt to get my mind off all of you. No success. Then I went to Isabel's bedroom and turned on the radio to hear the news, and of all things, I heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This man, Richard L. Evans, spoke to me and said, 'Don't let the sun go down on thy wrath.' I felt closer to God at that moment than I have ever felt in my life. I am ready to go with you to the meetings. I am ready to pursue a diligent study with the missionaries."

Isabel said, "Dad, that's a wonderful story—if only it were true."

Her father said, "Isabel, it's true."

She said, "No, Dad. Did you say that you turned on the radio on my nightstand?"

He replied, "That's the one—the little white one."

"Dad," she said, "that radio hasn't worked for several weeks. I think the tubes are burned out."

"Isabel," he said, "that radio works. Come with me." He led his family into Isabel's bedroom, walked over to the nightstand next to her bed, and turned on the radio as he had done just one hour earlier, but no sound came forth. That radio did not work! But when our Heavenly Father needed to communicate a message to an honest seeker after truth, that radio not only worked, but it tuned him into the very program and to the very message he needed to bring him to a recognition of the truth. Little wonder that he later became the bishop of that ward. Little wonder that all three of his children are active in the Church and continue to fill positions of responsibility.

When we serve our God, when we love Him, He knows it, and He will take us by the hand and give us answers to our prayers.

President Thomas S. Monson shared these stories in his First Presidency Message - Ensign, Jan. 1998, pp. 2-4