Mormon Channel Blog

Learning from the Widow of Nain

December 3, 2014

The Importance of Doing Unasked Service

There wasn’t much in Nain. It was a small village, just a few miles southeast of Nazareth. As far as we can tell, Jesus visited there only once, but that was enough.

In the village of Nain, a widow had just lost her only son. The funeral procession was winding its way through the small streets when Jesus and some of His disciples came upon the town.

The Savior saw the widow, this woman He likely had never met during His mortal ministry, and He immediately felt compassion for her. He went straight to her and spoke words of peace and comfort. “Weep not,” He said and then stopped the funeral procession.

He approached the body of the young man, and with that rare combination of power in His priesthood and compassion in His heart, He simply stated, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” The young man sat up and lived again, as the crowd, now extremely overcome with emotion, realized that “God hath visited his people.” (See Luke 7:11–16.)

As far as we know, no one had called Jesus to come to Nain. As far as we know, no one was expecting Him. But nonetheless, he came.

The Savior didn’t just visit them. He saw a need. He felt compassion. He did what He could to help and heal a grieving mother according to His will.

It’s a lesson we all can learn as we ponder the events that happened in Nain in relation to our own lives. How often do we seek out opportunities to help others? How often do we feel compassion for others in need? How often do we simply step forward and, with our actions and our words, simply say, “Weep not”?

Or are we quick to explain that no one asked us to help bring a meal to a neighbor; no one told us to offer a kind word to a struggling friend; no one called or assigned or delegated to us some act of compassion?

There is something Christlike about serving others in a time of need. But what is even more Christlike is when we can recognize the needs of others without being asked or assigned. When we can seek out the needy, feel compassion for them, and then serve them in whatever way can lift their burden and ease their pain, we serve as the Comforter would.

We train our eyes to recognize what we can do for others and train our hearts to act. As we do, we follow the example of the Savior as He visited the small village of Nain and made a difference where He could.