He That is Greatest Among You…Giving Service

He that is Greatest among you shall be your Servant Matthew 23:11When I think of the Savior of us all, I think of all his abilities, all of his intelligence and all of his service.

His, was an amazing example of the one with the most serving those with the least.

Having had a near-death experience, I know like few others do, the total and complete perfection of our Savior. I know that he could have delivered himself out of the hands of his persecutors and yet he didn’t. Mortality makes it really difficult for most of us to comprehend just how much has been done for us through the atonement of Jesus Christ and his perfection.

Ego, desire for power and selfishness distance us from our Savior and our Creator. I know how much they love us. I also know that overcoming the “man” in ourselves results in priceless joy.

We may have power, prestige, and possessions but if we don’t know how to love or care or serve, life is truly empty and void of joy.

I love today’s story. I believe it is a great reminder to us all that service can come from anywhere at any time – and that service is a priceless gift to both the giver and the receiver! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Today You, Tomorrow Me

During this past year I’ve had three instances of car trouble: a blowout on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out-of-gas situation. They all happened while I was driving other people’s cars, which for some reason makes it worse on an emotional level. And on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my own car, and know enough not to park on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Each time, when these things happened, I was disgusted with the way people didn’t bother to help. I was stuck on the side of the freeway hoping my friend’s roadside service would show, just watching tow trucks cruise past me. The people at the gas stations where I asked for a gas can told me that they couldn’t lend them out “for safety reasons,” but that I could buy a really crappy one-gallon can, with no cap, for $15. It was enough to make me say stuff like “this country is going to hell in a hand basket,” which I actually said.

But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke any English.

One of those guys stopped to help me with the blowout even though he had his whole family of four in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to three hours with my friend’s big Jeep. I put signs in the windows, big signs that said, “NEED A JACK,” and offered money. Nothing. Right as I was about to give up and start hitching, a van pulled over, and the guy bounded out.

He sized up the situation and called for his daughter, who spoke English. He conveyed through her that he had a jack but that it was too small for the Jeep, so we would need to brace it. Then he got a saw from the van and cut a section out of a big log on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top and we were in business.

I started taking the wheel off, and then, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones, and I wasn’t careful, and I snapped the head clean off.

No worries: he ran to the van and handed it to his wife, and she was gone in a flash down the road to buy a new tire iron. She was back in 15 minutes. We finished the job with a little sweat and cussing (the log started to give), and I was a very happy man.

The two of us were filthy and sweaty. His wife produced a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man’s hand, but he wouldn’t take it, so instead I went up to the van and gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I’d send them a gift for being so awesome. She said they lived in Mexico. They were in Oregon so Mommy and Daddy could pick cherries for the next few weeks. Then they were going to pick peaches, then go back home.

After I said my goodbyes and started walking back to the Jeep, the girl called out and asked if I’d had lunch. When I told her no, she ran up and handed me a tamale.

This family, undoubtedly poorer than just about everyone else on that stretch of highway, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took a couple of hours out of their day to help a strange guy on the side of the road while people in tow trucks were just passing him by.

But we weren’t done yet. I thanked them again and walked back to my car and opened the foil on the tamale (I was starving by this point), and what did I find inside? My $20 bill! I whirled around and ran to the van and the guy rolled down his window. He saw the $20 in my hand and just started shaking his head no. All I could think to say was, “Por favor, por favor, por favor,” with my hands out. The guy just smiled and, with what looked like great concentration, said in English: “Today you, tomorrow me.”

Then he rolled up his window and drove away, with his daughter waving to me from the back. I sat in my car eating the best tamale I’ve ever had, and I just started to cry. It had been a rough year; nothing seemed to break my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn’t handle it.

In the several months since then I’ve changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and once drove 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won’t accept money. But every time I’m able to help, I feel as if I’m putting something in the bank.

Originally by Justin Horner, posted Mar 10, 2011 [From a post on reddit.com and re-published in NY Times.]

Story shared from the following website: http://www.kindspring.org/story/view.php?sid=25237

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Letting Go of the World…and Serving Our Fellow Man

We may need to let go of the world so we can hang onto Eternity   Gary B. Sabin

Near-death experiences are extraordinary for putting perspective into place! I would like to think that I never was very materialistic, but I have to admit that my near-death experience gave me a much more complete view of what really matters: A new pair of shoes – nice but not always necessary. A strong relationship with my husband – not just a want but an eternal priority.

It has often been said but it bears saying again: the best things in life are free. They are also the only things that we get to take with us when we cross over. Our ability to love. Our relationships. Our talents and gifts. Those are the things we will take with us!

People often wonder why money doesn’t make them happy. It is because true joy comes from within. True joy and the ability to be content is a priceless treasure! Money neither robs joy nor contributes to it. Choices aligned with truth are the puzzle pieces that create a picture of a meaningful life.

I have found that knowing what I know does not make me perfect. Learning to live in harmony with all that I understand is a continual process. Learning and improvement is a gift that is offered to each of us.

I witnessed in heaven that we were particularly adept at honoring ourselves and each other. That is a goal that I try to honor every day. I know that my personal growth is accelerated as I exercise faith in God and faith in myself.

I hope that you honor yourself and your gifts. Those skills are a part of what is important in the eternal scheme of things. May great blessings be yours and may you enjoy today’s inspiring story!

Hero Jumps in Front of a Train to Save a Stranger
At around one o’clock on January 2nd, 2007, 50-year old construction worker Wesley Autrey was waiting for a subway train with his two daughters, aged 4 and 6. All of a sudden, he noticed a man – 20-year old Cameron Hollopeter, collapse into a seizure and fall to the ground.  Wesley immediately ran over to help him, alongside two women. With their help, Cameron could stand up again, but he couldn’t fully regain his balance and was stumbling around. Still dizzy and disoriented, he fell down onto the tracks between two rails. At that moment, Wesley saw the subway train lights – the train had finally arrived, and it was headed straight towards Cameron.

Without hesitation, he leaped down onto the tracks and onto Cameron, covering him with his body and pushing him down into the gap between the rails. The train couldn’t stop in time, and rolled over them so close some grease got on Wesley’s hat.

People on the platform were screaming, along with Wesley’s 2 daughters. The train finally managed to stop after 5 of its cars had rolled over the men. After the train stopped, there was a momentary silence, interrupted only by the crying of Wesley’s daughters. Wesley yelled out that both men were okay, and told people to make sure his daughters know that their father is fine and will be back with them soon.

After 20 minutes of waiting, subway workers came and helped the men back up onto the platform. Cameron was taken to the hospital. He had only suffered bumps and bruises, nothing serious. Wesley, however, didn’t want any medical help, assuring people that he was okay. He went to see Cameron at the hospital and then headed to work as usual. Wesley was very humble about the incident and didn’t see himself as a hero at all. To him, his actions seemed perfectly natural and not anything to make a big fuss about.
Story shared from the following website: http://forinspiredlives.blogspot.com/2011/01/everyday-heroes-3-inspiring-true.html

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Leadership and Teaching: Rule With the Heart of a Servant – Serve With the Heart of a King

I am grateful for the wonderful teachers that I have been blessed with in my life. I am also grateful for those individuals that have set the example of true leadership for me.

Virtually all of them have been both a teacher and a leader. Each of them is a priceless treasure I store in my heart. Though none of them has been perfect, they each have emulated, in some way, the example of leadership and heart that the Savior shared with mankind.

We each have the opportunity to share our influence, our wisdom and our love. We never know the extent that our service, love and teaching will reach.

I think often of a friend who shared with me long ago that she didn’t remember well what she what was taught but she remembered well how a few of her most treasured leaders and teachers made her feel. That is the kind of teacher and leader I want to be!

Whether you are a school teacher, Sunday School teacher, friend, parent, or business person, etc. – our influence is felt daily by those we interact with. What we say and what we do makes a difference!

I hope you will join me in trying to be a positive influence in the world!

I also hope you enjoy today’s story! It is wonderful!

Mrs Thompson – The Teacher

Mrs. Thompson exemplifies the type of leadership we should all take notice of. She helped this little boy, Teddy, feel like he was important and changed his life. It’s amazing what kindness can do. Teachers are some of the greatest leaders there are. This is a great holiday; make you feel good, type of story. I hope it is meaningful to you in each of your leadership capacities at work, home, church or wherever.

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big ‘F’ at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… he is a joy to be around..’

His second grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.’

His third grade teacher wrote, ‘His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.’

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself.. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, ‘Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.’

After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her ‘teacher’s pets..’

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck w ith it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer…. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, ‘Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.’

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.. She said, ‘Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2009/11/one-of-the-most-inspirational-teacherleadership-stories-ever-told.html

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To Touch the Soul of Another…Being a Mortal Angel

To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on Holy Ground. Stephen R. CoveyI have found that our fellow sojourners on earth can be some of our best angels. I believe that, when we choose to serve our fellow men, we choose to allow God to use us as his angels.

I know that angels are real. I have seen them. While the variety that I have seen is not the winged creatures with halos that are so often depicted, I know their work is real and I know they serve us more than we can even begin to imagine. They know us, they are aware of our needs, and they serve us.

Yet, their presence in our lives does not negate the need for mortal angels. We each are needed in this quest called mortality. God’s work begs to be done. Whether it is to lift a stranger with a smile or to literally carry one who cannot lift his own weight – no need should be considered trivial or of no worth. When we lend that assistance, however small it may be, we are giving love to the world and serving God in some of the most important of ways.

We are all connected with each other and we are all connected to heaven much more than mortality allows us to understand. With that knowledge in hand, I hope that you will join me in smiling more, offering more words of praise, and finding other ways of making a difference!

I hope you enjoy today’s story. I think it perfectly demonstrates how the work of angels can come from the most unexpected places!:

The Story of Rose

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze. “Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel.”

“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed, she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began:

“We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success.”

“You have to laugh and find humor every day.”

“You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!”

“There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change.”

“Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.” She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

We send these words in loving memory of Rose.

Remember:–Growing older is mandatory, growing up is optional!

Author Unknown, Story Submitted by world traveler Margo Polo.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.askalana.com/stories/rose.shtml

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Good Deeds Never Go Out of Style!

How Far that Little Candle Throws His Beams So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World Williams ShakespeareI am sooo very grateful for the good deeds of others – both from those I call friends and from those I call strangers. My life has been abundantly blessed by their care, concern, and service! My post must be short today as my IP service is being less than reliable!

I hope that your life has been blessed by good deeds! I also hope that you will pay those kindnesses forward! We all are blessed by the goodness in this world!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Friday morning, after I dropped my son off at school, I had a phone meeting with one of my favorite colleagues, mental health advocate Gina Nikkel of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. Suddenly, there was a loud crash; I abruptly ended the call. A car had rear-ended me.

I was okay, and the other driver, she was fine, too — physically at least. My car was only slightly affected, but the woman’s car was in bad shape. Her hood was completely damaged and bright, yellow-green fluid had started to pour out from underneath the car. I asked for her insurance information, but the woman said she didn’t have any; when I asked for her driver’s license, it turns out that she didn’t have a valid license either.

The appropriate thing to do was to call the insurance company and, maybe, the police, but I couldn’t.

The truth is that this easily could have been me in her spot. This week, I’ve worked 14-hour days, fallen asleep on the couch in my clothes, and have had bouts of insomnia as I prepare for four events on the East and West Coasts. I have been tired and stressed and functioning on less than a full cylinder. I have also been very openhearted and hopeful these past few days, as I’ve been working with the Fountain House, an inspiring mental health organization who we are collaborating with this weekend for Good Deeds Day. I was tired, but more importantly I was also inspired as we worked towards our shared mission of filling Herald Square with post it notes with messages of #flawlesslove to the world on social media and specifically to the members of Fountain House.

I remember another time in my life like this. It was a few years ago on a day that happened to be a spiritual double header — Good Friday and the first night of Passover. I was confronted by a man, who was not in touch with reality, in a dark corner of a gas station. Another person might have been scared, but because of how I frail I was feeling in that moment, my guard was down and I saw the perfection in that man: Our humanity connected us, and I’ll never forget the tender exchange that followed when he broke down and cried with tears of gratitude when I gave him the money he had requested.

Today was the same. Immediately I sensed that this woman was struggling, and with just a few questions, I found out that she was a retired veteran, that her husband had just left her, and that her license had been suspended because she didn’t have the money to pay for the tickets. She’d been driving to a doctor’s appointment at the VA hospital when she had crashed into my car.

All of the logistical questions — like what to do about the damage to my car, what to do about her lack of insurance and her suspended license — melted away in the rush hour traffic as we just stood together in a moment of pure connection on the side of the highway. I told her that I run a mental health organization and, after I gave her my card, I put my hand on her shoulder as we stayed locked in a powerful glance of affection and said goodbye.

Should I have called the police? Perhaps. Did I do enough to help her? Probably not. But in those few minutes, when time stood still, by seeing the perfection and light in this woman, I made space for this one, small, good deed, acknowledging our common human frailty. After all, it turns out I know just how important it was for her to get to her appointment at the VA hospital. I pray that she made it.

I have to see the perfection in my choice which may not have been logical in this situation but in my heart felt like the right thing to do. Not holding this woman up on her way to her appointment at the VA Hospital was my good deed. As we celebrate Good Deeds Day worldwide tomorrow, what will you do to spread the #flawlesslove?

Story shared from the following website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janine-francolini/a-crash-of-flawlesslove_1_b_9651552.html

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