The Greatest Shall Be Your Servant
March 2019

“The Greatest Shall Be Your Servant,” New Era, Mar. 2019, 30–31.

The Greatest Shall Be Your Servant

Our stake president taught us a lesson while we moved irrigation pipes that day.

The author lives in Utah, USA.

men and young woman moving irrigation pipe

Illustration by Dan Burr

I grew up on a farm in Utah as the youngest of five kids. We worked on our farm almost every day because there was always something to be done. The summer I was 17 I had an experience I will never forget.

My older siblings had moved out of the house either to go to college, to go on missions, or because they were married. I was the only child living at home, and that left me with big responsibilities. Doing a lot of the farm work was up to me since my dad was still working full-time and our funds from our farm that year were not sufficient to allow us to hire out help for the summer.

One evening, after working on the farm for a good part of the day, I had dinner with my parents. Then my dad told me I needed to help him move the irrigation pipes off the hill behind our house. This was the task I dreaded most because the hill was big, we had two long lines of irrigation pipes, and it took a lot of work to move them. It took even more work to get them completely off the field.

I went to the field with my dad just as the sun was starting to set. We started to get the pipes off the field as the sun was going down and the field was getting darker and darker. It was a long task that was taking even longer than usual because it was getting dark. I thought to myself, “How will we ever get these irrigation pipes off the field before it gets completely dark? There’s no way we’ll be able to move them in time.”

Just as I was thinking this, I saw a truck pull into our field and drive toward us. My dad and I stopped what we were doing and watched the truck coming closer. Soon the truck parked by where we were and the stake president stepped out. He looked around the field and at us. He turned to my dad with a look of concern and said, “Where’s all your help tonight?”

My dad pointed to me and said, “You’re looking at it.”

The stake president watched me, a 17-year-old girl working fast to get the pipes off the field but not strong enough to be fast enough; he looked at the several pipes we still had to move; then he looked at the setting sun and at the darkness closing in around us. He said, “Well … let’s get these pipes off the field.” He picked up two pipes, one in each hand and started taking them off the field.

My dad and I, both a little caught off guard, gladly resumed our task. Between my dad, the stake president, and me, we got all the pipes off the field in less than 10 minutes. We finished before dark. I was so happy to be done with our task and to be done working for the day. My dad thanked the stake president, they shook hands, and then we all went home.

As soon as we were home, my dad told my mom what happened. She was quite impressed that the stake president would take time out of his busy schedule to help us on our farm. Such a small act of service made a big difference to us that night.

My dad then got his scriptures and told me he wanted to talk to me. We sat down on the couch and he turned to Matthew 23:11, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” My dad told me that the stake president was the busiest man in the stake. Not only did he have a very busy Church calling, but he also ran a dairy farm and a part-time store and had a large family to take care of. However, he took time to help us get the pipes off our field and made our burden easier. He was known as the greatest among us because he was a good example to everyone and was in a leadership position in our stake. But he served us on this night.

My dad then went on to say that this was like the Savior, always serving people even though He was the greatest, busiest, and most important person among them.

I don’t think the stake president realized how much our family appreciated his help that night or how much his act of service helped us and strengthened us. But it taught me a valuable lesson I will never forget: he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.