I had just been released as stake president and was relaxing in a Gospel Doctrine class one Sunday when sisters came in seeking volunteers to help in the nursery. Our lesson that Sunday was on the importance of following the Brethren, and for years I had preached the counsel of President J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871–1961), a member of the First Presidency: “It is not where you serve but how” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 154).
I watched the sign-up sheet come down the aisle toward me. I began thinking of all the possible excuses I could give. “Maybe,” I thought, “they want only sisters to sign up.” Then it was there: the sign-up sheet was in my hand. I imagined a number of eyes watching me to see what I would do. I finally signed up for a time four months away. Surely I’d have a new calling by then.
The months flew by, and one Saturday morning I received a call reminding me that I had volunteered to assist in the nursery on Sunday. The next day I found a room of youngsters waiting. All could walk, but none could talk. When I entered, they all ran to me, and I lifted two in my arms and walked over to look at some pictures. Soon I exchanged them for two other children. We read, played, hugged, and had a good time together.
At the end of Primary, I helped a sister restore order to the room. Soon her son and husband joined her in cleaning up, and I began reflecting on the hours of unseen service rendered by this family compared to the visible service I had rendered. The words of Jesus Christ came to me:
“But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth;
“That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly” (3 Ne. 13:3–4).
I had received many rewards for my service as a stake president. Yet this family too would receive their reward from a Father who knew well of their efforts on behalf of His children, and I felt it would be a great one.
Many thoughts rolled through my mind that day. The children didn’t care what I had once been or that I was well known to their parents. I was humbled, and I gained a deeper appreciation that it really doesn’t matter where you serve but how.
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