I’ve greatly admired the focus that the church has had on directing efforts to helping those (especially refugees) in our local communities. Sister Burton emphasized this in her talk during the Women’s Session.
“It is our hope that you will prayerfully determine what you can do—according to your own time and circumstance—to serve the refugees living in your neighborhoods and communities. This is an opportunity to serve one on one, in families, and by organization to offer friendship, mentoring, and other Christlike service and is one of many ways sisters can serve.”
I believe that Satan is incredibly crafty and one of his aims is to turn our zealous desire to do good into a harmful and destructive disregard for those closest to us. He loves to make us obsess over far away harms but harden our hearts towards those closest to us.
Many years ago I experienced this when I was in college. I became obsessed with attending anti-war events and traveling to large rallies. In doing so, I neglected relationships with those close to me and missed many opportunities to serve around me. I let a large and distant cause overcome the cause of helping people around me. When we obsess over national or global crisis rate than focus on those immediately in our direct sphere of influence, we miss so many incredible opportunities to serve.
I love this story that Sister Burton shared:
“At the funeral services for a remarkable daughter of God, someone shared that this sister, as stake Relief Society president, worked with others in her stake to contribute quilts to give warmth to suffering people in Kosovo during the 1990s. And like the good Samaritan, she went out of her way to do more as she and her daughter drove a truck filled with those quilts from London to Kosovo. On her journey home she received an unmistakable spiritual impression that sank deep into her heart. The impression was this: ‘What you have done is a very good thing. Now go home, walk across the street, and serve your neighbor!'”
Large acts of service are commendable, but if we then forget to serve our neighbor we are at risk of falling into Satan’s trap