Case Stayner

Case Stayner

The holiday season brings with it feelings of gratitude and humility for what we have. It should also fill our hearts with feelings of charity to succor those who are lost, who feel hopelessness or who are worried that they may not be able to acquire their basic needs or have others to share a turkey dinner with on Thanksgiving or Christmas. What Jesus taught the Pharisees to do, to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” should cause each of us to donate money, food or time to help the less fortunate (Matthew 5:39). In doing so, we are fulfilling the greatest commandment: to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 5:37). Each holiday season should be a time to grow spiritually by becoming more like Christ by serving others.

There are many simple ways to serve our neighbors during the holiday season. Grocery stores offer a simple invitation at checkout stands to select an amount of money to donate to feed the hungry. One simple click and one extra dollar goes a long way when multiple people choose to donate. One can also donate time ringing a bell for the Salvation Army or their spare change for the red bucket. Consider also donating to turkey, clothing and coat drives or other fundraisers that your child’s school participates in. There is always a need to help children. Radio stations regularly offer the chance for the public to call in and donate to local hospitals or to select a child to donate Christmas presents to.

It is my belief that during the holiday season our minds are turned toward Heaven and to those around us who need monetary and spiritual help. We should act on what Jesus taught his disciples: “lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). Is it wrong to want Christmas presents? Of course not. But we should want to give part of our substance to those who have little or nothing. In this way we are following what Jesus Christ so beautifully taught to his followers living in the Americas, 300. B.C, through the mouth of his prophet, King Benjamin, “For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all our substance which we have” (Mosiah 4:19)? The answer is yes! So put on the work gloves, grab a rake or some spare change and bless someone else’s life this holiday season.

One unique way to serve others this holiday season is to participate in #LightTheWord. While this December daily service opportunity was created by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is not only for its members — it is for everyone. Each day contains a unique service opportunity that challenges each person to serve others through projects, donations and ministering. If one is stumped on how to fulfill a particular daily challenge, then visit justserve.org. Just Serve is a website that contains many local service opportunities that allows individuals and families to sign up and spend their time helping others. Seasonal and year-long projects are occurring right here in Pocatello. Serving others should help each of us become more like Jesus Christ.

In our daily pursuits to become more rounded, caring and loving individuals, we can serve others to do so, which allows us to become more like Christ. Jesus Christ didn’t just teach and heal, he also served those around him. On an evening spent with his apostles, Jesus poured water “into a basin and began to wash (his) disciples’ feet,” and he taught them that “the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent is greater than he that sent him” (John 13:5-16). Jesus also taught his apostles to “wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). We can symbolically wash one another’s feat by remembering that not one person is preferred over another in God’s eyes, even though one’s neighbor may be of a different economic class, a different race or ethnicity or who may not share the same religion, political opinion or ideology. Dallin H. Oaks, who serves as a counselor in the first presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught that having goodwill toward all means to reject “persecution of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or nonbelief and differences in sexual orientation” (Oaks, 2014).

This holiday season remember what Jesus taught: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Jesus loves us so much that he gave his life! I invite all to act like Jesus did — to love one another through service.

Case Stayner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Idaho State University and is currently working to obtain his master’s in secondary education from Grand Canyon University. He loves writing in his free time and teaching English and other subjects at his place of employment. The most important things he values in life are his religious beliefs, including his faith in God the Father and his son Jesus Christ and his dedication to his family.