Sister Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities and first counselor in the general presidency of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught that truly meaningful help in humanitarian aid comes from treating others like sisters and brothers.
Sister Eubank taught that we have the choice in our leisure time to reach outside ourselves.
“I realized that as busy as I think I am, the Lord puts opportunities right in my path and all I have to do is take advantage of them,” said Sister Eubank.
She spoke about when she delivered flowers, in honor of President Monson’s passing, to a care center that was near President Monson’s home. Sister Eubank learned that President Monson was well-loved at the care center and that he spent his leisure time there.
“I believe the Lord often isn’t asking us for big, time-consuming gestures,” said Sister Eubank. “He merely wants minutes of our time every day to help another person on their way.”
Sister Eubank taught from the Book of Mormon that we should think of those we serve as our sisters and brothers. She explained how Ammon did this when he volunteered to be a servant to his people’s enemies and how Ammon protected them in a crisis.
She reminded those in attendance of the then general Relief Society President Sister Linda K. Burton’s call to reach out to strangers, which she gave in April 2016.
Strangers are those who do not participate in society fully.
“Who because of language or background or disability or religion, because of family status or life choices, anything — that they’re not fully participating within the circle? And can we think of them as brethren?” said Sister Eubank.
Sister Eubank said that humanitarian crisis, especially those of displaced people, are really failures of people remembering that we are all children of God.
“As we respond, we can send bushels of food ... but if we don’t do something about them feeling like strangers instead of brothers and sisters then the whole thing is in vain and will just feed the cycle of emotional and spiritual misery,” said Sister Eubank.
Sister Eubank shared what she has seen make the most lasting change in all the humanitarian work she has done over the years.
“You are the gift … It’s not the clothing, it’s not the hygiene kits or school desks or wells. It’s you,” said Sister Eubank.
She urged the audience to give healing, friendship, respect, peaceful dialogue, sincere interest, protective listening to children as well as to remember birthdays and talk to strangers. These are examples of really being there for someone and getting to know them, which is what Jesus Christ did in his ministry, said Sister Eubank.
“We live in a world that is coming apart. It’s being pulled apart so that the unity of community and respect for other people’s beliefs and tolerance of differences and the protection of the minority is being shredded,” said Sister Eubank. “It’s extremely destructive to all of us when everyone outside the narrow clan becomes an enemy to vilify.”
She closed by saying that treating others like sisters and brothers is part of God’s mission for us.
“You can be perfectly responsive to any need that comes to you, wherever you are,” said Sister Eubank.
Next Week's Devotional: Ben Ogles
Ben Ogles, dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, will deliver the BYU Devotional address on January 30.
Ogles’s remarks will also be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org (and archived for on-demand streaming), KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYU Radio, and will be archived on speeches.byu.edu.