One wintry morning the Miskes were awakened early by their neighbors. The neighbors, sixteen elderly patients from a nearby nursing home, were without water because their water pump had broken. The Miskes shared their well water all day—until the well went dry that evening. Sister Miske then purchased eighteen one-gallon containers of purified water and called on other LDS neighbors to help. They gathered sixteen five-gallon jugs and filled them at the local meetinghouse. Three sisters did the patients’ necessary laundry; one sister spent nine hours washing and drying sheets.
For three days, Sister Miske transported more than a ton of water in snowy weather, with temperatures often hovering around zero. After three and a half days, a new pump was installed at the nursing home, and things there returned to normal.
But things were not normal for the Miske family; their own well remained dry. Members of the nursing home’s staff were more than happy to help the Miskes. The nursing home provided the family with water until spring, when the well began to flow again. (See Church News, 2 Apr. 1988, p. 16.)
During his earthly ministry, the Savior commanded us to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves. (See Matt. 22:36–39.) An essential part of obeying these two “great commandments” is rendering Christlike service.
But opportunities to serve others are rarely convenient. Though some forms of service can be scheduled and performed upon assignment, much of the service we might give cannot be planned; it requires immediate, spontaneous, and—at times—prolonged attention. Elder William R. Bradford has observed that selfless service projects are not usually regulated, “one-time special events.” Instead, they are ready responses to others’ needs—“face-to-face, eye-to-eye, voice-to-ear, heart-to-heart, spirit-to-spirit, and hand-in-hand, people-to-people.” (Ensign, Nov. 1987, p. 78.)
The service we render need not be large or involved. Each day, as we interact with family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers, we can perform thoughtful acts that reflect our sensitivity to and our love for all of our Heavenly Father’s children. One sister feels so strongly about the importance of service in her life that as she plans her activities for each day, she includes acts of service for family members, friends, and roommates.
The Lord also commanded his disciples to “love one another; as I have loved you.” (John 13:34–35; see also John 15:12–17; 2 Jn. 1:5; D&C 88:123; Moses 7:33.) The Lord expects us to love and serve one another, just as he did. (See Mosiah 2:17–18.) As our capacity to serve grows, so does our capacity to love.
On the subject of service, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “We must surely realize that there can be no true worship of Him who is the Christ without giving of ourselves. …
“If we give such service, our days will be filled with joy and gladness. More important, they will be consecrated to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to the blessing of all whose lives we touch.” (Ensign, Mar. 1987, p. 5.)
Consider some of the barriers to our loving and serving more abundantly. Discuss some ways we can overcome them.
Share—or have the sister you visit share—how an act of selfless service made a difference in your own or someone else’s life.