“Something in Return,” New Era, Nov. 1989, 39
When I was younger, I lived next door to an elderly lady who spent most of her time alone and seldom left her house. When she did leave, she would be gone for a long time, and that is when I went to work.
I would get a rake or snow shovel or broom and sneak around the tall wooden fence that separated our yards and do some yard work. Sometimes I would just leave her a plate of cookies with a note. I tried so hard to be a friend to the lady who lived there, and I thought that if I did these things for her she would be nice to me.
I really enjoyed the extra work because it made me feel good inside, but I thought I would feel even better if she would only acknowledge my kindness. I would watch her come home and feel disappointed because she never made an attempt to show thanks or appreciation. I had worked so hard and never received so much as a smile.
Then one Sunday at church we had a lesson on service, and I realized that I had been performing acts of service for my neighbor with the expectation of getting something in return. I went home and asked my mom about service and she gave me a scripture to read. It was Mosiah 2:17:
“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
That taught me a valuable lesson about my activities. And I knew that even if my neighbor didn’t seem to care about my efforts, my Heavenly Father did care.