When Steve Shumway was a youth, he spent a day on horseback with his father moving cattle. When night rolled in after a long day, they still hadn’t made it to their destination. A snowstorm made it difficult to navigate, and the night was pitch black without the moon. The temperature dropped dramatically, and the pace was slow-going.
All of a sudden, Shumway’s father stopped his horse and said, “Steve, you need to get off your horse right now — we need to start walking!”
Shumway realized that the blood circulation to his feet had slowed considerably, leaving them partially frozen and without feeling. Walking was initially very painful as the blood started to flow, but they eventually warmed up as circulation normalized.
Shumway, now a professor of technology and engineering studies, has thought on that event throughout the years. While walking was the last thing he wanted to do when his feet were frozen, it was the very thing he needed to do in order to save himself from harm.
In Tuesday morning’s university devotional, Shumway posited that this concept is a spiritual truth as well as a physical one. With the storms of spiritual opposition increasing around us, he asked, “How can we keep or spiritual lifeblood flowing so that we will have the strength and ability to continue our journey to return again to be with the Savior and our Heavenly Father?”
After the recent policy change to ministering was implemented in April’s General Conference, many ecclesiastical leaders have recently put emphasis on serving others and have suggested that “ministering in the Savior’s way” is one of the best ways to strengthen oneself spiritually and keep that lifeblood flowing.
There are many reasons why people may not be interested in serving. If they have just finished serving in a major calling or as a full-time missionary, for example, they may feel they deserve to slow down and take a break. Busy college students may feel justified in putting off service until they graduate. If a person has a new job and a young family, they may think that they need to put service temporarily on hold until they get their feet under them.
Shumway noted that these reactions to life and service are natural; however, “the ways of the natural man are not the Lord’s ways.” Like needing to walk when his feet were frozen, he believes that “when we perceive that we are too busy or feel that we are not ready or do not want to be involved in service to others, this is, in fact, the time when we need to do these things the most.”
Additionally, Shumway said if we have become spiritually frozen through our choices and actions, we can repent and begin to experience the lifeblood of the Spirit warm our hearts again.
“Even though we might be spiritually frozen, as children of a loving Heavenly Father we still are allowed to partake in the influence of the Holy Spirit to help us come back to the Savior,” he said. “He never gives up on us.”
The next devotional is scheduled for Tuesday, July 3, when Denise Stephens, a professor in physical and mathematical sciences, will speak.