By guest author, P.D. Wiles, who says, "This column is dedicated to my friend Terrieóone of the most compassionate people I know. I love you, friend!"
Someone recently asked me for the recipe I use whenever I have to take food in order to fulfill a compassionate service assignment. Here is the best casserole I know of. You donít have to worry about getting your container back, you always have the ingredients handy, and it costs nothing.
2 ears for listening
2 eyes that see what needs to be done
1 mouth, open to speak the words of the Spirit
1 neck, easy to move and not stiff
1 shoulder, ready for crying on (may use 2 shoulders if desired)
2 elbows (donít drain the grease)
2 hands, willing to serve
1 heart, ready to open
2 knees, prepared for kneeling
2 feet, ready to go where needed
Put all ingredients in whatever modest container is desired: jeans and a sweatshirt, skirt and sweater, or dress. Proportions of the finished product donít matter, as long as all the parts, especially the heart, are in the right place. Sprinkle liberally with the scriptures. Bake under various degrees of prayer until thereís a burning in the bosom. Remove from heat, and serve to those who cannot help themselves. Feeds the multitudes much like the Saviorís loaves and fishesóthe more served, the more there seems to be available.
My dear friend, compassionate service is not a test to see how well you can cook. To be truthful, whenever Iím asked to send food somewhere, I usually end up letting the local grocery deli do the cooking for me. Compassionate service is not about the food, itís about the love that delivers it.
The best way I can think of to explain it is to remember the story of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. If youíve seen the movie as many times as I have, you can probably remember the Wizardís words to the gentle metal man as he was given a plastic replica to fasten on his torso: ďMy dear friend, a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.Ē In other words, the Tin Man already knew how to love. He didnít have to have a ticker in his tummy to prove that! And because he cared so deeply for his friends, his friends reciprocated, and loved him just as much. Likewise, compassionate service is not critiqued on your culinary skills, how much money you can afford to spend, what kind of flowers you send, or how many people you have helped as opposed to Sister So-and So. Compassionate service is charity, borne of the pure love of Christ, that gives blessed assurance to others that the Lord, indeed, does watch out for their needs. And we are blessed to be used as the vessels that deliver this assurance.
Compassionate service doesnít contain calories. Compassionate service is listening, learning, and loving. It is assisting, persisting, and encouraging another. Most important, it is doing as the Savior would have us do.
This article originally appeared on Suite101.com.