Sheri Palmer, associate professor of nursing, asked students to participate in service as a way to give their lives meaning in her Devotional address on Tuesday, July 29.
In her address, Palmer asked the audience to consider their personal reactions to opportunities to serve, giving her reasons in Revelations 2:19:
“I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.”
Palmer recounted a story where as a nurse in a developing country’s hospital, medicine was not available from the hospital directly and many could not afford to buy it. As a result many beggars appeared just outside the hospital. In one instance an elderly woman approached Palmer for money after an accident.
“I told her I didn’t have any money and walked away. She was just another beggar,” Palmer said. “After a few moments [I] turned around and looked at her. She was looking around with the look of, ‘What do I do now?’ My heart was pierced. I couldn’t believe I was eager to eat roast beef over giving this woman money that would possibly enable her son to live.”
Palmer explained that this experience taught her the importance of serving those less fortunate than her. In a world with many variations of temporal blessings, those blessed with a lesser degree of difficulty in life are required to give to those who have not been blessed by service.
“We are blessed for a reason. If it is only a little difficult to render a little service, [should] we not do it more often?” Palmer said. “If it is only a little inconvenient, why can’t we do it more frequently? What about those who have a higher degree of difficulty in providing service?”
Palmer shared an experience while on her mission where she, as a struggling missionary, received food from a family who could hardly feed themselves. This family helped her in the way they were able to because of their righteous desire to serve.
Anyone can have memorable experiences of service, Palmer promised. When people practice service with the right kind of spirit, they consecrate their time, ability and material blessings to others and to the Lord.
While this will always be a work in progress, people may look to Jesus Christ as an example of convenient service.
“What was Jesus doing? He touched. I said, ‘I will.’ He arose. He turned around. He was moved with compassion,” Palmer said. “These are characteristics of kindness and love; he was not inconvenienced.”
Natural Christlike service may be difficult, but Palmer challenged students to make a conscious decision to make service convenient and to plan for it in their lives.