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September 15, 2014
Cookies and Pi
Graciously Accepting Service is Christ-like, Too
by Sydney Bone

This year, on the first day of school, I woke up and ate breakfast with my family. My daughter and I kissed my husband goodbye and he left for work.

For the first time since I was five, I didn’t leave my house on the morning of the first day of school. What a huge difference from a year ago!

Then, I had three semesters of college to finish and a brand-new daughter to care for. Our family had just finished a challenging summer: we moved across the country twice and had a baby while living 1600 miles from home.

That summer, we didn’t know anyone when we moved to Alabama, and we were only there for a few months. Despite that, members of the ward welcomed us with open arms. They brought food, came to visit, and loaned us baby items. One family in particular practically adopted us. Also, both my mom and my mother-in-law flew out to help take care of the baby while I recovered.

The service didn’t end after we got back and started school. One friend watched my baby three mornings a week so I could go to class. Without her help, I wouldn’t have graduated.

Friends and family babysat at random times, whenever Jarret and I couldn’t make our schedules work. Once, I left home with a counter full of dirty dishes. When I got back, my friend had washed them all. Other friends offered advice or emotional support. Without the loving kindness of so many people, our difficult year would have been impossible.

Frankly, I wish I had accepted more help. The young women of the ward offered free babysitting for who was going to the temple, and we never took them up on it. A friend told me to call her if I was having a rough day and needed her to bring us dinner. I had rough days, but I didn’t call.

When Emelia was six weeks old, she and I flew back to Utah while Jarret drove the car back. I was at the airport, by myself, carrying three bags, a car seat, and my baby. A man offered to help with my luggage, and I said, “No thanks, I’ve got this.” I obviously could have used his assistance, but I didn’t accept it. How idiotic of me! Or, more accurately: how prideful of me.

I’m glad this church teaches service so well. I wouldn’t have survived the past year without the many people who lived their religion by helping me out. However, we put so much emphasis on being Christ-like by giving service; we forget that graciously accepting service is Christ-like as well.

Sometimes, we’d like to think we can do it all. We are blinded by the foolish notion that accepting help means admitting defeat. This couldn’t be more wrong.

We are bound to the rest of humanity by the acts of service we give, but also by the ones we receive. Allowing others into our lives, by accepting — or asking for — help when we need it, creates meaningful friendships in a way that nothing else can.

Jesus Christ was an example to us in all things, including how to accept service. In Luke chapter seven, we see how he reacted to a woman washing his feet. He could have said, “You don’t need to do that for me. I can wash my own feet.” Instead, he graciously praised her act of kindness, even as a Pharisee condemned her sins.

Many early missionaries went "without purse or scrip." I think it was because the Lord wanted them to learn to rely on Him, and to rely on His servants they met along the way.

In the October 2010 General Conference, President Uchtdorf taught us that “we are the hands of Christ.” We would never turn down an act of service from the Savior. Yet how often do we refuse to let other people — his hands — help us?

I challenge you to follow Jesus Christ’s example. When someone wants to help you, don’t say, “No thanks, I have everything I need.” Instead, give them a chance to gain the blessings and personal growth that can only come through serving you.

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