Something Had to Give
June 1994

“Something Had to Give,” Ensign, June 1994, 65–66

“Something Had to Give”

Because I worked as an installer of residential water treatment equipment, my bishop gave me the unofficial calling of ward plumber. This meant that from time to time I would help widows and single-parent families in our ward with their plumbing problems.

During one particularly hard winter, I was asked to replace the incoming water line on the mobile home of a single mother. It was bitter outside: cold, windy, and damp. At this time of year, the thought of working outside on my back under the mobile home made me really dread the job.

When the day arrived, I dressed as warmly as I could, but the weather still blew through my insulated overalls, boots, and stocking cap. Before long, I was grumbling: “Why does the bishop always ask me to do these things? There must be someone else in the ward or stake who can do this.”

I closed my eyes and said a short prayer, asking that I might get done quickly and get home to some warmth. Moments later, a question came into my mind: “How would you have felt if the bishop had asked someone else to do this job?”

I chuckled out loud as I realized I would have been offended if the bishop had thought I was unwilling to use my skills to serve a member of the ward. Then I saw the contradiction: I had a bad attitude about doing this job out in the cold weather, yet I would have been bothered if I hadn’t been asked to do it. Something had to give—and I knew that the “something” was my selfish grumbling.

After I made my choice, I did not get warmer and the job did not go faster—but it did go better. I decided that it was an honor to be lying on my back under this mobile home in the service of our brothers and sisters in need and therefore in the service of our God.

  • Kenneth P. Patterson is high priests group leader in the Grand Junction Sixth Ward, Grand Junction Colorado Stake.