Opportunities to Serve are Everywhere

There are chances for [service] all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
~ “Have I Done Any Good?” LDS Hymns, 223

by Pete Ferguson

I screwed up colossally this morning. Mark was really late for school and we’d slept in. So we jumped in the car and rushed off to school.

I drove right past our Bishop standing out in the 18 degree weather putting fuel in his car, with his daughter sitting in the passenger’s seat, probably very cold.

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Here is a man who volunteers many hours a week to serve us – in the LDS or Mormon faith, all local clergy are volunteers. He is a mechanic by trade who has helped us out countless times, often offering to come to our house and drive a troubled car into the shop to keep Steph from having to figure out how to shuttle several kids back and forth.

If it were me standing out in the cold, he would have pulled over for sure.

But I completely screwed it up. I drove right by.

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”
― C.G. Jung

There is little I could have done when it came to the car as he is much more knowledgeable than I am, but I could have offered his daughter a ride or a warm place to sit and wait while we made sure the car would run.

By the time I had this seemingly obvious epiphany and turned around, he was in his car and driving her to school.

Service rarely comes with an invitation, wrapped up nice with a ribbon and bow and scheduled at a convenient time.

Service is in the moment, at that moment, and must be seized upon.

When my father was a Bishop when I was a teenager, many opportunities for service came late at night. A family going through a crisis and needing counsel or just a shoulder to cry on. He would grab a shirt and tie and bound out the door. For service that wasn’t confidential, he would bring me along. Many Saturdays included helping someone move a refrigerator, washer, dryer, or upright freezer or mowing a lawn, raking leaves, or shoveling snow for free.

I can’t say that I was always a willing participant, but he dragged me along nonetheless. Later in life, I’ve had many opportunities to do the same. With reluctance sometimes, and with a grateful heart others.

I served in a capacity as a president over a volunteer group many years ago. I was working 60  + hours a week and traveling often. I didn’t feel I had much time for my family, and one night a week I had meetings, with many more meetings on Sundays. There were several occasions when my wearied head had just hit the pillow when a call for help would come.

I learned to keep a white shirt pressed and ready at all times. I changed out my dress shoes for slip ons. And I kept several steady people I knew I could count on programmed into speed dial on my phone.

“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”
― Gordon B. HinckleyStanding for Something

Thankfully Stephanie was always supportive, though she would have appreciated having me home more often I’m sure.

This Holiday Season, there will be many opportunities all around to help out others in need – and of course the needs continue after the Season as well. What are you doing to prepare your heart and self to be ready for the call?

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
― Mother Teresa

Quotes from GoodReads website.


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