Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Least of These

I was reading President Eyring's talk "Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen?" today when this verse from Matthew jumped out to me. I have often felt like I fall short in the area of giving service. I don't volunteer or help a lot of people in a day because I have hard time getting outside of my shell. I want to, but I have just never known how to make the time and have the courage. But the Savior does not require that we serve constantly or that we serve everyone. Instead, He asks that we start by fasting, giving a generous fast offering, serving faithfully in our callings, visiting teaching, and serving those in our own families. These are much more manageable goals that that I feel are within my grasp.

It does not matter how many I serve, but how willingly and humbly I serve those within my scope. What matters is my heart. Serving "even the the least of these" is all that is needed to soften my heart to make it more like my Savior's. Cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, reading that one book again and again and again. Even if that is all I accomplish in a day (and most days it is) I have served and I am consecrating myself to Him. He did not say "Inasmuch as ye have been Mother Teresa" but "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto ONE of the least of these..." To me, this signifies anyone, but not necessarily everyone. I believe He sees our hearts, not a checklist or report.

When I was in school full-time I gave what I would call a "college student's fast offering." It was meager but all I could give and I'm glad I did. I always had employment and my needs met. Then this past year a trial descended that changed my life forever. For the first time, I was in dire need. Generous family provided for my physical needs, but what I really needed was therapy and we could not afford it. The Bishop took care of it and I assume it came from the ward's fast offering fund. That opportunity to get therapy was life saving and changed me forever. After that experience when I was in a position to give again, I gave far more generously than I had before no longer out of a sense of duty and desire for blessing but in the hopes that other lives and hearts would be healed as mine had. As President Eyring promised:

Your fast offering
will do more
than help feed and clothe bodies.
It will
heal and change

Serving is about so much more than filling a need or dutifully and habitually checking a box. It can often start as a duty or checked box and then blossom into healing for both our own hearts and those we touch. I still have so much learning and growth to do in this area. But every time I am tempted to feel insufficient I remember that I give a generous fast offering with righteous intentions, I serve my child and family every day, all day, and I try to love those around me.

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