Sheri Palmer, associate teaching professor for the College of Nursing, gave a talk entitled “Convenient Service” in last Tuesday’s devotional. While the title seemed like an oxymoron, she made an excellent point about conditioning ourselves to see service as convenient; therefore, making it easier to do.
Dr. Palmer shared two experiences from her life about service that illustrated this point. One of these occurred at a hospital in Ecuador. Locals sometimes received free care from the hospital; however, they were still responsible for purchasing their own medicine from a nearby pharmacy, so due to the lack of resources, many remained around the hospital begging for money. On one occasion, a lady approached asking for money. Her first response was to say no, remembering a $20 bill in her pocket, but wanting to use it for the purchase of a nice roast beef meal. As the begging woman stood there distraught and hopeless, she changed her mind and handed over the needed resource. Helping the needy woman proved to be more fulfilling than any roast beef that money could buy. To this day, Dr. Palmer refers to this experience as the parable of the roast beef.
The other experience Dr. Palmer shared happened in a Walmart as a couple tried to buy a bike for their child. The father paid in cash, but found that he lacked a few dollars to complete his purchase. He anxiously searched his pockets/wallet for spare change, failing to find anything. His wife began rummaging through her purse, and eventually, the two gathered enough cash. As the event unfolded, Dr. Palmer stood behind the couple. She averted her eyes and attention, feeling awkward and embarrassed for them. She later felt disappointed in her own actions. Instead of making an effort to avoid being involved, Dr. Palmer fells she might have helped the couple with a few dollars and encouragement.
These two experiences and the Savior’s example have shaped her outlook towards service. Christ spent His life in the service of His fellow men. He automatically responded to opportunities to serve in the affirmative. It was Dr. Palmer’s recommendation to her listeners to train themselves to respond to service with an automatic yes. By doing so, service becomes a part of us, and inconvenient service becomes convenient.