When Joseph Smith organized the Relief Society in 1842, he said the purpose of the society was:
"relief of the poor, the destitute, the widow and the orphan, and for the exercise of all benevolent purposes...They will pour oil and wine to the wounded heart of the distressed, they will dry up the tears of the orphan and make the widow's heart to rejoice."
This past Sunday, out tri-stake had a special Relief Society Fireside put on by Sister Doxey of the Relief Society General Board. She spent considerable time speaking about the Visiting Teaching program. She even asked in open forum if we believed visiting teaching to be outdated.
Of course none of us said the program was outdated in front of Sister Doxey! But it got me wondering. If I don't feel the program is outdated, then why am I not more valiant in my visits and care of my girls?
She then asked us how we could "breathe new life" into Visiting Teaching. What a good question! Sister Allred gives a good suggestion:
"When love becomes the guiding principle in our care for others, our service to them becomes the gospel in action. It is the gospel in its finest moment. It is pure religion."
Grandma Rosenlof and I had a discussion on Sunday about this very topic. She argued -- and I agree -- that love is the bottom line of everything we do in the church. Some people believe it is obedience, that our obedience is the bottom line because we are required to do many things. And it is true, maybe for some people that is their bottom line. At a Zone Conference on my mission, we were taught that there are many motivations for people to do things. The first level is obligation -- because they feel they have to. The second level is fear -- because they are afraid of the consequences of NOT doing the action. The third level is love -- someone decides to do what is right because of their sincere love for the recipient, or for Christ.
Any and all of those motivations are good motivations to do the right thing. It is better to do your visiting teaching as an obligation and a fear to have to call in a 0%, but visiting teaching becomes what it is meant to become when we sincerely love our sisters.
So, love must become the guiding principle. Getting a check mark on the percentage sheet is not motivation enough for me to do my visiting teaching. However, if I consider that my girls may be going through a tough time, and might be praying that I will come by and be their firend and become an answer to their prayer -- THAT is motivation. That is love.
And love does not wait until the last day of the month -- it comes often.
She also talks about Home Teaching:
"Inspired Home Teachers bless lives and provide the blessings of the gospel to every family unit. In addition they lend their strength and talents in other ways, such as helping a family in need of home repairs, [or] in helping a family move."
Last Sunday, our Home Teachers came over and taught us from the First Presidency message in the latest Ensign about Commitment. Even though most every Home Teacher will teach that lesson this month, their lesson seemed tailored to us specifically and really touched my heart.
The very next day we called our Home Teachers to help us carry some heavy equipment into our apartment -- and they so willingly came over to complete the task.
I am grateful for my valiant Home Teachers and want to become a valiant Visiting Teacher.