Sarah sat in her room playing with her dolls. She was changing them into their best clothes for a Christmas party she was hosting. Everyone was invited: Mr. Snuggles, the teddy bear; Chocolate and Caramel, the raccoon twins; Lady Juniper, the ladybug; and many of their friends.
As Sarah began to introduce her guests to each other, Mom walked into the room.
“Sarah, Dad and I were talking about what service we could do this Christmas. We thought we could give gifts to the children’s home down the road.”
“OK,” Sarah said.
“We were wondering if you would like to donate some of your toys,” Mom said. “I know that it would mean a lot to the children. They probably won’t be getting many new toys for Christmas.”
“But I don’t want to get rid of my toys! I love them all!” Sarah said.
“What about this stuffed cow?” Mom asked.
“I’ve never seen you play with her. Are you sure you want to keep her?”
“What if I decide I want to play with her after I give her away? Then I won’t have her anymore!” Sarah said.
“The purpose of serving is to think about the needs of others before yourself,” Mom said. “When you make a sacrifice to help someone else, you are becoming more like Jesus Christ.”
“I am?” Sarah asked. “How?”
“What did Jesus do when He was on the earth?”
“He helped people.”
“Right! He spent His life serving others,” Mom said.
“So if I give away something important to me to help others, I am being like Jesus?” Sarah asked.
“Exactly,” Mom said.
Sarah knew Mom was right, but she was still a little nervous about giving up Moo-Moo.
That weekend, Sarah and Mom and Dad went to the children’s home with a big bag of gifts. As the children opened their presents, their smiles grew bigger and bigger.
One little girl picked up a box wrapped in shiny red paper. Sarah watched as the girl carefully unwrapped the present. Inside the box was the stuffed cow.
“Her name is Moo-Moo,” Sarah said to the girl. “And she loves parties.”
A smile spread across the face of the little girl. She hugged Moo-Moo tight and looked up at Sarah. “Thank you,” she said. “I’ve never had my own stuffed animal before.” The girl skipped away with her new toy.
Sarah felt happy. She imagined Jesus must have felt happy too when He helped people.
“I want to come back next Christmas,” Sarah said as she and her parents left the children’s home. “I think I have more toys I can give away next year.”
“Whether our service is to our fellowmen or to God, it is the same. If we love Him, we should keep His commandments and feed His sheep.”2
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Why Do We Serve?” Ensign, Nov. 1984, 12.