I’d like to share a story with you.
Jason smashed his foot right in a muddy puddle over and over again.
“Jason Andrew, what are you doing?” his mom yelled from the kitchen.
“I’m bored,” he replied as he walked toward the back door of his house.
“And you are muddy.” His mom smiled at him. “Go change your clothes. Then come back. I have something that you can do for me.”
As he went upstairs, Jason noticed that the house smelled of fresh-baked bread. It made his mouth water. He really wanted a piece of the warm bread with lots of melted butter on it. But he would do what his mother wanted him to do first. After he changed, he went back downstairs to the kitchen.
“I’m here, Mom. What do you want me to do?”
His mom said, “Will you please carry this loaf of bread over to Sister Chester’s house for me? She can’t bake anymore, and she enjoys homemade things. She’ll probably try to say she doesn’t need it, but I want you to tell her, ‘Just being neighbors, Sister Chester.’ It is important to tell her in just those words. Can you remember them?” Jason nodded. “When you get home, you can have a glass of milk and a slice from this second loaf.”
Jason watched as his mom wrapped the yummy bread in a piece of shiny foil with a big ribbon wrapped around it.
As he walked across the street with the warm bread, he practiced saying, “Just being neighbors. Just being neighbors.” He wondered why it was so important to say exactly that.
As Mom had said, Sister Chester objected to taking the bread. However, as soon as he said, “Just being neighbors, Sister Chester,” she smiled and took it. “Thank you,” she said.
The screen door closed behind Jason with a bang when he came home. “Mom, why did Sister Chester change when I told her we were ‘just being neighbors’? After I said that, she smiled, took the bread, and said thank you.”
“Many years ago, before you were born, Daddy and I bought this house. I was expecting Rachel and became sick not long after we moved in. I had to stay in bed for about a month. One day, not long after I became ill, Sister Chester came over. She cleaned the kitchen; made dinner for your dad and me; and washed, dried, and folded all the dirty clothes. I tried to get her to stop, but she smiled that special smile of hers and said, ‘Just being neighbors, girl. Just being neighbors.’
“She came over almost every day to fix dinner and do chores until after I had Rachel. On days when she couldn’t come, she sent her granddaughter over with dinner.
“Now that she is older and can’t do as many things as she used to, it is my opportunity to help her. Doing things for others helps us to feel useful and good inside. Besides, it is what Father in Heaven wants us to do.”
After eating two slices of yummy bread and drinking a large glass of cold milk, Jason went outside. He was bored again. He looked across the fence. Mr. Jensen’s yard was full of leaves. Normally Mr. Jensen would have raked the leaves himself, but Mr. Jensen’s arm was broken, and he didn’t have anyone to help him.
Jason’s face broke into a smile, and he headed for the shed.
As he began raking the leaves from Mr. Jensen’s yard, Mr. Jensen and Jason’s mom walked out of the house.
“Jason, you don’t need to do that,” Mr. Jensen said.
“Just being neighbors, Mr. Jensen, just being neighbors!”
In Mosiah 17 verse 2 we read: “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.”
When we serve our neighbors, we also are serving our Heavenly Father.