For you, what the word love means? I wonder the same thing every day and before I begin to express my feelings on this subject, I would like to share with you the definitions given to the word love:
a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>
Love is a feeling of deep devotion, concern, and affection. The greatest example of God’s love for His children is found in the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ. Love for God and fellow men is a characteristic of disciples of Jesus Christ.
Our love for those around us increases when we remember that we are all children of God—that we are spirit brothers and sisters. The love that results from this realization has the power to transcend all boundaries of nation, creed, and color.
When I left home on May 29, to serve my full-time mission, I had in my mind the word obedience. For me, my success would be measured by my obedience here in the mission field. But when I came here and met hundreds of other missionaries, I felt I was focusing too much on the word obedience when in fact I should be learning about the word love. I confess to you that I have a lot to learn about love, especially how to learn to love my neighbor as myself(Matthew 22:35-40). But I’m sure in my mind and in my heart that when I strive every day to learn the real meaning of love, to look for opportunities to serve others with all my heart, I know I will learn what Heavenly Father I wants me to learn. I have not forgotten obedience, but today I’m sure that by learning the real meaning of love, specifically the love for our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we will do all things that are necessary in order for us to our progress here on earth by sincere LOVE and not by obedience that does not always mean that we are doing something for our free will but to get recognition. And I would like to finish with a short story from President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“The greatest challenge we face in our hurried, self-centered lives is to follow this counsel of the Master. Years ago I read the story of a young woman who went into a rural area as a schoolteacher. Among those in her class was a girl who had failed before and who was failing again. The student could not read. She came from a family without means to take her to a larger city for examination to determine whether she had a problem that could be remedied. Sensing that the difficulty might lie with the girl’s eyes, the young teacher arranged to take the student, at the teacher’s own expense, to have her eyes tested. A deficiency was discovered that could be corrected with glasses. Soon an entire new world opened to the student. For the first time in her life, she saw clearly the words before her. The salary of that country schoolteacher was meager, but out of the little she had, she made an investment that completely changed the life of a failing student, and in doing so she found a new dimension in her own life.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, ‘And the Greatest of These Is Love’ Ensign, March 1984)
I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, When we do our best to serve others with all our heart, when we look for daily opportunities to serve, we will be blessed with understanding of the love that God and Jesus Christ has for us and we will be blessed throughout our journey here on earth.
Elder Diogo Reis