Sunday, October 14, 2007

Practicing Service

Last week someone rang our doorbell and ran away, leaving a bag of candy on our doorstep with a poem attached. It was one of those things that says to find 3 friends and do the same service within 48 hours. My wife took is very seriously, but I didn't. "That's not really service" I said, "It's a bag of candy!".

I'm prone to this kind of thinking. Sometimes when I sit in Elders quorum (before I was a primary teacher) and hear talk about people helping people move or whatever and I think, "We are a quorum of Elders in God's kingdom. Isn't there something really important we're supposed to be doing? Something that will change people's lives?"

Today in Church we found out that one of the boys in our ward was diagnosed with cancer. Their family will be basically living in the hospital. They have 3 kids and 1 on the way. Talk about tough. The ward is going to be bringing them meals and no doubt serving them in many different ways. I'm reminded of Bishop Edgley's talk on Enduring together, in which he says, "The Lord’s organization is fully adequate to know and care for those with even the most dire emotional and spiritual needs." That's a lot to live up to.

After thinking about the boy in our ward and Bishop Edgley's talk, I realized why it is so important that we do the small acts of service--the bags of candy and the move assistance. It's not because those acts are so meaningful on their own, in my opinion. It is because they are practice. Often the moments when we really can help make a difference in someone's lives take us by surprise. If we are not prepared--if we are not ready--we might miss them and leave someone in need. Just as our muscles require constant exercise to maintain their strength, we need to exercise our habit for service, so that when we really need to serve it will be instinctual.

Next time someone brings a bag of candy to my door, I won't take it so lightly.

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