Debbie Bostwick, a friend of mine who spoke at church last month, shared a message with a personal story.
“One of the dearest things that the Lord has blessed me with is grandchildren,” she said. “I especially love it when little 4-year-old Haley comes to visit us. From the moment we get up in the morning, this little girl follows me around and talks to me. She is asking me questions and listening to my answers, she explains why we are doing something and has her own suggestions of what we ought to do. We feed the cats together, we make breakfast and set the table; she follows me as I do the chores of the day. She walks beside me as I go outside and work in the garden, helping to plant flowers or seeds. She is happy to do whatever is asked of her.
“One of her favorite things to do, and we always do it when we are together, is to make chocolate chip cookies. She drags her stool over and adds the butter and sugar and eggs and flour to the mixer. She knows how to turn that mixer on, and when the dough is finished, she takes the bowl. She usually ends up with cookie dough spread from nose to chin and ear to ear with a huge smile in between. That bowl of cookie dough is hers, and, with a big smile on her face, she reaches and gives me a big spoonful of cookie dough, saying, ‘This is yours, grandma!’ ”
“As I thought about this,” Bostwick reflected, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if, from the time we get up in the morning, we would go about doing our Heavenly Father’s will?’ We would talk and chat with Him throughout the day. We would ask Him questions and listen for answers. We would tell him what we are going to do, and He would listen. We would help Him in whatever way He needs us to: Take dinner to someone who is sick, call someone when we feel prompted, help clean up a yard, drive a teenager to a youth activity, babysit for a couple of hours, listen when someone has a bad day, give comfort when the heart is breaking. Whatever the Lord would ask, we would be willing to do with a smile on our face. And when it comes to that big bowl of cookie dough, with all the sweet things He has given us in our lives, we would smile and give him that big spoonful of our love. We would show Him gratitude for all he has given us, and we would try harder to be obedient to His kind commandments.”
Bostwick is the president of the women’s Relief Society in my Gig Harbor congregation. The acts of loving service that she mentions are the kinds of things that Relief Society sisters — really, all the women of my church — do.
Selfless service is in their DNA. I stand in awe of what they accomplish quietly and one-on-one. We men do our best just trying to keep up with the women.
Thomas S. Monson, as a 22-year-old Navy veteran and a very young bishop, ministered in a large inner-city congregation with 85 widows, and he eventually spoke at each of their funerals, as they each had requested.
Today, as the 86-year-old president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with a lifetime of service worldwide, Monson speaks as a much-loved prophet with an invitation to all of us:
“My brothers and sisters,” he counsels, “we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness — be they family members, friends, acquaintances or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children ... We bless others as we serve in the shadow of ‘Jesus of Nazareth ... who went about doing good’ (Acts 10:38). God bless us to find joy in serving our Father in Heaven as we serve His children on earth.”
Then we can say, as little Haley, “This is for you, Lord.”On Faith columnist Alfred Gunn, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Gig Harbor, can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.mormon.org. Monson quotes from “Serve the Lord with Love,” Ensign, February 2014.