Thursday, April 14, 2016

"These Deeds Shall Thy Memorial Be"

In his conclusion to the General Women's Session of the April 2016 General Conference, in which much was said about service, President Henry B. Eyring shared the Biblical account of the woman who anointed Jesus' head with oil, and was then criticized for it by some of Jesus' followers. The Savior defended her, saying:
Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. ... Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her (Mark 14: 6&9).
This scripture is fulfilled repeatedly whenever anyone tells her story. Though history has forgotten her name, her legacy of service lives on.

And she's not the only woman who was remembered for her charitable service. The woman I blogged about yesterday, who drove a truck full of quilts to Kosovo, went on to do even more service when she got home, for which she was remembered at her funeral. Coincidentally, we don't know her name, either, but I'm sure heaven does.

A lot of the service we give is relatively thankless. The great contributions to humanitarian efforts aren't as widely celebrated as great contributions to science and technology are, or as are even mediocre contributions to film and music. The everyday contributions to humanity largely go unnoticed, sometimes even by their beneficiaries, but never by God. People often don't see how hard others work to serve them, but I know God does, and I'm sure He'll remember those deeds when it comes time to dispense heavenly blessings.

The persona, or narrator, of the hymn A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief doesn't get much recognition, either, except by the one person who matters most. Throughout the hymn, the persona performs small, but progressively larger, acts of service for the title character, all but one of which are performed privately, with none of the public acclaim a person might hope to receive in return for their service and sacrifices. However, the blessings the persona does receive are far more valuable than the recognition he or she does not. These blessings include a tasty meal, a quenching drink, pleasant dreams, and even the attainment of inner peace. The greatest blessing the persona receives is given after the greatest act of service. At the close of the hymn, the title character reveals himself to be the Lord, Jesus Christ, and tells the persona that he or she will be remembered, in heaven at least, for the service he or she had done for Him.

We, too, will be remembered for what we do for our fellow man. Whether we aid them or ail them, whether the acts we perform are large or small, the deeds we do for, or to, others will be the ultimate measure of our mortal lives when we stand before the Judgement Seat. At that time, as always, our Earthly recognition, or lack thereof, won't matter. What will matter is that our deeds will be recognized, and rewarded, by God.

I don't know the name of the woman who drove quilts to Kosovo and did even more service when she got home, and no one on earth knows the name of the woman who anointed Jesus' head with oil, but God knows them, for their names are written in the book of eternal life.

No comments: