“Offered help stinks!” declared my great grandfather to his new daughter-in-law. When I first read that I thought it was pretty harsh, especially since she had just offered to help with something that needed to be done. But as time has gone by I have learned the wisdom of that which he said.
Just the other day, I came home about nine p.m., tired and a little out of sorts. I saw the stack of dirty dishes next to the kitchen sink and made a mental note that I would wash them first thing in the morning. My wife was juggling a lot of obligations at that time in addition to babysitting our three granddaughters. I knew that she had better things to do than to wash dishes. But right then, all I wanted to do was to sit down, relax and watch a Hallmark Channel movie.
When I got up the next morning, my wife was washing the dishes. “Hey,” I said. “Let me do those for you.” She replied rather curtly, “If you had wanted to do them, you would have.” In other words, offering to do the dishes wasn’t the same thing as actually doing them.
D. Todd Christofferson recounted the story of Brother George Goates, who in six days lost his son Charles and three of Charles’ small children during the flu epidemic of 1918. That week Brother Goates made the caskets, dug the graves, and helped prepare the burial clothing. His child and grandchildren died during the week he was to harvest his sugar beet crop, which was left freezing in the ground. This was his major source of income.
After the burials, he and another son hitched up the team to the wagon and went to their field to see if they could salvage any of their crop. As they rode up the rutted road, they passed several wagons coming in the opposite direction loaded with harvested beets. As each wagon went by, the drivers waved warmly and greeted Brother Goates and his son with broad smiles. “That’s the last of ‘em,” said the driver of the last wagon to go by. Brother Goates looked grimly at his son and said, “I wish that were the last of ours.”
When they arrived at the field they found it all dug up with not one beet green to be seen. The men of his church had harvested every sugar beet. It was then that this man who had shown tremendous strength the previous week sat down and sobbed like a child. He looked up to the sky and said, “Thanks, Father, for the men of our church.”
An age-old deception implies that people who are smart enough or rich enough can avoid challenges. This simply is not so. In our lives and the world today we are experiencing in full measure the ‘perilous times’ of the last days that the Apostle Paul described to Timothy. As the times become even more difficult, it is imperative that we pull together to help each other—without being asked and without simply offering to help; and this, whether it be washing the dishes or harvesting the crops of one in need.
“And in doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of Him who is your Lord…Succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.” (D&C 81:4-5)