Giving Our Best

(Based on a true story)
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? (Matthew 25:37).

Kerry, Nate, and Elizabeth came running in after school. “Mom, guess what!” Elizabeth yelled. “What?” Mom asked.

“Our teachers said we can help hungry children with these bags,” Kerry said excitedly. All three children waved their brown plastic bags with FOOD BANK printed on them.

Mom stopped washing dishes and sat down at the kitchen table. “OK, tell me how a plastic bag can help hungry children.”

“There’s a place called a food bank,” Nate said.

“It’s where families without any money can get food,” Kerry explained.

“Yes!” piped up little Elizabeth. “Then they will always have supper.”

“Can we get some things from our pantry?” Kerry asked. “We have tons of food there.”

“Of course,” Mom said. “Fill your bags while I finish washing the dishes.”

With a happy shout, the three children ran to the pantry. Nate grabbed a big can of peaches.

“Not those,” Kerry said. “Peaches are my favorite. Take that can of sour cabbage stuff that no one likes.”

“Except Mom,” Nate corrected. “But she won’t mind.”

Elizabeth started putting a box of macaroni and cheese in her bag, but Nate stopped her. “Hey, that’s my favorite lunch. Take this old can of spinach instead. Then we won’t have to eat it.”

The children kept pulling cans and boxes from the pantry until their bags were too full to lift. They dragged the food into the living room where Mom was reading.

Mom smiled proudly at them. But when she looked into the bags, a small frown creased her forehead. “What’s this, Elizabeth? An old can of spinach?”

Elizabeth nodded. “Nate said to take it instead of macaroni and cheese because that’s his favorite.”

“And peaches are Kerry’s favorite, so we picked the sour cabbage stuff that you like,” Nate added.

“I’m glad to donate some of my favorites,” Mom said. “But I’m not sure that sauerkraut or spinach would be a hungry child’s first choice. And since Jesus loves us all the same I wonder what He would want you to put in your bags. What if Jesus were going to that food bank for supper tomorrow? Would you feed Him only things that are yucky to you? Or would you share your favorite foods with Him?”

Kerry, Nate, and Elizabeth looked down at their bags. Then they looked at each other. Finally they looked up at Mom.

“We’d better go back to the pantry,” Kerry said.

Nate nodded. “We need to change some things.”

The children dragged their bags back to the pantry and dumped the cans onto the floor.

“Peaches first!” Kerry said.

Nate grinned. “Then macaroni and cheese!”

“And some of my favorite pudding for dessert!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “Jesus is going to like what we are giving to others for supper!”

[Overcoming Selfishness]

President James E. Faust

“Following the Savior means overcoming selfishness; it is a commitment to serve others.” President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “What’s in It for Me?” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 19.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Matt Smith