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The Other Side of Serving: Being Served

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Recent events in my life have led me to think a lot about serving and giving. My husband became very ill and was in and out of hospitals for a short time. The hospital stays were brutal, but the real work began when he was released and we went home. Caring for my husband and trying to maintain our home at “my” standard was leaving me exhausted to the point that I feared I would also become ill. I recall praying to our heavenly Father and asking Him for the strength and health to continue at what was a dangerously reckless pace.

After praying this prayer, it occurred to me that a younger family member needed money. So, I called to ask if she would come over to vacuum, in exchange for which I would pay her. It seemed like a win-win situation, so I was unprepared for her “No, thank you” answer.

I really needed help. When my sister heard about what had happened, she offered to come over and vacuum the house for free—but I turned her down. Well, she showed up at my home anyway, bringing her husband and her own vacuum! The two of them vacuumed, washed dishes, and generally restored my home to a “company clean” state. I was deeply thankful for their love and service.

Afterward, I thought about what I had done, and what had happened as a result. I certainly had needed help. So, why had I turned down my sister’s offer of help? I realized that I was reluctant to express my need for help to anyone other than God.

This reminded me of the story of the man who was standing on a rooftop to escape the floodwaters below. He prayed for rescue, and God sent a rowboat, then a motorboat, and finally a helicopter. But the man turned down all help, because he was waiting for God to rescue him. God had sent help, but not in the way the man expected.

Like that man, I had turned down the offer of help. In part, I did so because of a false sense of pride; I liked to see myself as the one who would help and serve others, not the one being helped and served. After all, I had thought, it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

I would have let this false pride destroy me (Proverbs 16:18), but our merciful Father answered my prayer in a way that forced me to set aside my pride. I learned to graciously accept the help offered not only by my sister, but by other members of God’s Church, who provided meals and encouragement to help me through a difficult time.

Through all of this, I learned how to be served. Empathy for others, and the desire to ensure the well-being of those around her, are usually part of a woman’s nature. We like to serve. We often reach out to help others, with little or no thought of being the recipients of help. Yet, at some point in each woman’s life, she will need help. And, when that time comes, it is our responsibility to accept the help we are offered. If no help is offered in our time of need, we need to let someone know what our needs are. When we hear, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” we need to remember that this says it is blessed to receive—and unless there is a receiver, there can be no giver. We as women, givers though we may be, must always remain grateful for the help God gives us through the hands of others around us.