It was entitled "Convenient Service." The title had me intrigued.
I had been raised by a mother who was always serving. I remember asking a trusted friend after she passed what scripture would describe her he instantly responded, "Mosiah 2:17"
She proceeded to share a couple of experiences where she had not exhibited "Christ like service."
One was while she was in a poor country working. She commented on an elderly mother approaching her and she knew this sweet women was going to ask her for money. She talked about how she could not wait for the end of her shift, so that she could take her last $20.00 and get a great piece of Roast Beef." She was more concerned about her "Roast Beef then she was about his poor sisters plight." I had a major ouch moment because just earlier in the day I had my own "Roast Beef moment and I totally fell short of what the Savior would have done.
She then mentioned another experience where she was in a local retailer at Christmas time and the couple in front of her were digging through their pocket trying to come up with enough change to make their purchase. She commented that "I looked away."
"The title of my talk is "Convenient Service." You may think this is an oxymoron,
but during the course of this talk I hope to explain why it should not be.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said something that has helped me understand:
God thus take into merciful account not only our desires
Even though there are material inequalities in the world, we all can have the righteous desire to serve. And it is the pursuit of these righteous desires that measures our reward in heaven.
We do not have to travel abroad to have fascinating and memorable experiences of service.
We can and should start right here in our homes and neighborhoods. Jesus did not travel very far;
often He served those very near to Him. We have opportunities to serve simply being sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters. We serve through our church callings and by being members of our wards.
I often think that Heavenly Father will ask me, "What did you do to serve the women you visit taught? How did you change their lives or help them in times of need? How did you serve your brothers? Did you even notice when they needed help?"
These can be sobering thoughts.
So, how can we make service convenient? We start by practicing with "automatic responses."
Let me relate another little experience. This one was only a few months after my experience in the hospital with the roast beef money. It was Christmastime, and I was in the checkout line at Wal-mart, thinking of all I had to do. I was watching the young couple in front of me buy a little girl's bike.
The cost was around sixty-five dollars. I watched the man hand over dollar bills and then frustratingly search in his pockets for change. Then the couple searched in the woman's purse for money. I averted my eyes to avoid the additional embarrassment for them.
Even at that moment I felt uncomfortable and ackward. I guess they finally came up with the right amount of money. I was too busy trying not to notice.
After I had made my purchases, I followed them out of the store--realizing I had again missed the opportunity to help. It was most likely only a few dollars they had needed.
Where had my desire gone? Why couldn't I have just conveniently handed them a few dollars?
Again, I couldn't believe it! Why hadn't I performed an automatic response by offering a dollar or two?
Giving service and having it become "convenient" is a work in progress. While I was in the temple the other night I thought about how tightly related service is with sacrifice and consecration.
If we can master the task of providing service to those around us, how much easier, then, is it to sacrifice for others and consecrate what we do for the Lord. Elder Bruce R. McConkie gave a talk in April 1975 about obedience, consecration, and sacrifice. He said:
In reality you can never love the Lord until you serve Him by serving His people.
"First observe, then serve." I have seen students sit by themselves an entire semester.
Yet even with many years of experience, I still struggle with now "convenient" the service is.