Succor, Lift, and Strengthen: Leadership and Service in the Lord’s Way
Devotional or Speech given at
Brigham Young University-Hawaii
31 October 2016
Elder Kim B. Clark
Commissioner, Church Educational System
I am grateful for this opportunity to speak to you on this very happy day. I would like to share a thought with you about leadership and service in the years that lie ahead.
Your time at BYU–Hawaii has given you opportunities to learn and to grow in understanding, in judgment, and in spirituality. Your experience here has prepared you to be disciples of Christ, and leaders in your families, in the Church, in your communities, and in your work. Some of you have had leadership experience already; in the years ahead all of you, every one of you, will have both the opportunity, and the responsibility, to lead some of God’s children.
I want to share with you today what the Savior taught about leadership. I hope His teachings will become the guiding light of your lives and your leadership. No matter where you have opportunities to lead, these principles will have great power.
In His mortal ministry Jesus taught His Apostles that leaders should serve and minister to those they lead. He said:
…the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
What does it mean for you and for me to lead by ministering and serving?1
Leadership is everywhere and always a moral act. When you lead you hold the lives of Heavenly Father’s children in your hands. What you do and what you say will influence them for good or for ill. Jesus Himself is our perfect example of how to lead by ministering and serving. In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1832 the Lord said, “Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”2
Listen to these words: succor, lift, strengthen. These are words of action and words of command from the Lord to bring about positive temporal and spiritual change in the lives of those you lead. In order to lead in the Lord’s way His light, love, and power must be in you. When they are, you become “…instruments in the hands of God…”3 to succor, lift, and strengthen His children.4
People who have weakness in body, will, character, or skill are vulnerable to temptation. They may feel incapable, and they may feel trapped. They need your love, support, counsel, guidance, and help. You may need to teach them new skills, engage them in the work in new ways, and help them find new temporal and spiritual resources. You may need to help them repent. This is what it means to succor the weak.5
People whose hands hang down may be discouraged and weary. They may not understand what to do or why they should do it. They may lack resolve. You can help them find increased spiritual energy by giving them a vision of what is possible and clarifying the larger purpose of the work. You can help them see how their work is part of something great, and you can help them find greater hope and greater faith in Jesus Christ. This what it means to lift the hands that hang down.6
People whose knees are feeble do not stand strong in the face of challenge and difficulty. They may shrink from hard things. They may be afraid. You can help them find greater understanding, new skills, and a stronger witness of the truth. They need encouragement, and they need to know they are not alone. Your faith in Christ and your love will inspire them and give them courage. This is what it means to strengthen the feeble knees.7
When you lead this way, you lead according to true principles. These principles will work no matter where you lead. Always remember, you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you keep your covenants and act with faith in Him, He will be with you wherever you go. You will act for Him, with His love, His inspiration, and His power. I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 Matthew 20:25–28
 Mosiah 27:36
 In the words of President Hinckley, “My beloved brethren and sisters, the challenge is great. The opportunities are all about us. God would have us do His work—and do it with energy and cheerfulness. That work, as He has defined it, is to ‘succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees’ (D&C 81:5).”
 This was the experience of those great missionaries, the sons of Mosiah. Their hands hung down when they were in the wilderness on their way to teach the Lamanites. Ammon said, “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold the Lord comforted us….” The Lord blessed them with spiritual strength and energy by helping them see that they were embarked on a great work, and that, if they were faithful, He would bless them with a rich harvest of souls. See Alma 26:27 and Alma 17:9–12. In these verses the Lord shows us the way to lead. See also, Isaiah 40:28–31.
 This has been the thrust of the Lord’s promises to His faithful servants in all dispensations. For example, the Lord said to Enoch, “Go forth, and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee….” (Moses 6:32–34). In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord said, “…I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mind angels round about, to bear you up” (D&C 84:85–88).