Our Elders Quorum had a service project yesterday. A member had three trees taken down in his back yard, and he needed the wood hauled away. The Elders Quorum President talked to the bishop and got the name of a needy sister in the ward who needed the wood.
When we went to deliver the wood, I was surprised. I expected to find an older sister living in a rundown small home somewhere. What I found was a single sister living in a modest home in a nice subdivision. The thing that got me is that she's in the process of building a pond in her back yard.
In my experience we rarely render what I would consider meaningful service in the church. We rarely serve the truly needy, even in our own community. Most of our service goes to each other. I.e. it stays within the church. We are not as concerned with relieving the plight of the poor and hungry as we are helping widows with their landscaping.
I don't doubt that the sister in our ward was needy relative to others in the ward, but I hardly think somebody putting in a pond is on the edge of survival. We can do better than this. Jesus did not call us to merely look after those within our own group, no matter how comfortable that might be.
Meanwhile, the Episcopal church we visit sometimes had a meeting today totally devoted to the Appalachian Service Project mission trip the youth took. They spent a week in Kentucky repairing people's houses. They were hot, sweaty, dirty, and tired for a week, but they rendered what I consider meaningful service for people who are unable to help themselves. These kids came back with the light of Christ in their eyes.
And I bet not one house needed a pond built.