Aaron and the Relief Society


(Based on a true story)
Let thine hand help me (Psalm 119:173).

“Hey, Aaron,” Ty called from the other end of the church gym. “Come shoot some hoops with us!”

Aaron shifted the box of paper cups and napkins in his arms and shook his head. “I can’t,” he called back. “I’m helping my mom set up for Relief Society.”

Aaron heard Ty and some of his other friends laugh as they dribbled and passed the basketball. All of the boys were in his Primary class except Todd, a new boy who didn’t go to church. Aaron heard Todd ask, “What’s Relief Society?”

“It’s a meeting for moms and old ladies … and Aaron!” Ty laughed again.

Aaron ducked into the kitchen and dropped the box on the counter. He knew that Relief Society wasn’t just for moms and old ladies, and it wasn’t just a meeting either. When his mother was in the hospital, Relief Society sisters brought delicious meals to his family. They also served his family a luncheon after his grandfather’s funeral. Mom had explained that the Relief Society also helps the bishop care for the sick and poor in the ward. Aaron enjoyed helping Mom with Relief Society activities because he always had a good feeling afterward, and he often got to sample the leftover treats.

But he didn’t have a good feeling right now. He didn’t like being laughed at. “Mom, can I go play with Ty and the other guys?” he asked.

“I’m counting on you, Aaron,” Mom said. “I really need you to put chairs around the tables.”

Grumbling to himself, Aaron shuffled over to the rack of chairs against the wall. He lifted one off the top, and the one below it clattered to the hardwood floor. Some of the boys laughed, but Todd said, “Why don’t we go help him?”

Ty shot the basketball and missed. “No way,” he said, chasing down the ball. “We only have the gym for five more minutes. I’m not going to waste my time on Relief Society.”

Aaron unfolded more chairs and arranged them around the tables. Brother Brown arrived to help, and soon the two of them had completed the job. But Aaron knew that he wasn’t finished. Mom handed him a stack of tablecloths and paper napkins. He turned away from the boys at the other end of the gym and concentrated on getting the tablecloths straight. Brother Brown and several Relief Society sisters worked around him, setting the tables and making everything look nice. Aaron took a pitcher of water and started to fill the paper cups at each place, when suddenly a basketball crashed into the table, spilling water everywhere.

Ty ran over to retrieve the ball just as Aaron’s mother came out of the kitchen. “It’s time for you to go so we can have our meeting,” she told Ty.

Ty picked up the ball and dribbled it at his side. “Ah, come on, Sister Dean, we won’t bother you. We’ll just play at that end while you have your meeting over here.”

“Sorry, Ty,” she said. “It’s our turn now. You boys will have to leave.” She turned and walked back into the kitchen.

Aaron mopped up the spilled water with a wad of napkins. Ty was still standing there looking stubborn, bouncing the ball up and down. Aaron didn’t want to argue with his friend, but he didn’t want to let Mom down either. He offered a quick and silent prayer.

“Listen, Ty,” he said with a smile. “Why don’t you guys help me finish, and then we can go outside and play basketball before it gets too dark. The Relief Society is having brownies and ice cream afterward, and my mom might give us some if we help out.”

Ty looked around and the other boys waited to see what he would do. Aaron took the pitcher of water and pointed at the empty cups. “If we all take a table, we’ll get done fast.”

Later, Aaron’s mom brought brownies and ice cream outside for the boys. “I want to thank you guys for helping out tonight,” she said. “It sure made my job a lot easier.”

Todd took a spoonful of ice cream and grinned. “This is your job?” he asked. “Where do I sign up?”

[Selfless Service]

Elder L. Tom Perry

“The greatest satisfaction we find in this life is not that which is done for self but that which is given for the benefit of another.” Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Unseen Service,” New Era, Dec. 2002, 6.

[illustrations] Illustrations by Elise Black