What does it mean to serve others? How would you answer that question? Go ahead, take a second and see what kind of answer you come up with.
To serve others is not a natural act for most. In the american culture especially, we are taught early on to take care of ourselves, and look out for number one. How many of us right now when looking at our calendars have some type of serving opportunity already scheduled for this week? month? or year? Or if I asked you to name the last time you performed an act of service for someone, how far back would you have to go?
To serve others to me means, simply putting someone else ahead of yourself. For men, this can be as easy as opening the door for a lady (yes ladies, I do understand that you don’t need us to do that), but why did being a gentlemen go out of style? Or maybe offering up our seat to someone who is in need. To put others first just doesn’t sound right…maybe that’s why on Sunday morning people are reluctant to slide in to the middle and give up that outside chair to people arriving late. A line I have used myself is – “If they wanted to sit at the end of the isle, they should get here earlier”. Is it really that big a deal to let someone merge in front of you on the highway?
I can hear some of you now…Scott, these are simple acts of kindness. Ok, when was the last time you performed a simple act of kindness? I know some of you who know me, thought I was going to get into “big” acts of serving others – like, providing food to food banks, working at soup kitchens or volunteering at a local nursing home. Well, be patient, I will. Seriously though, when did simple kindness to one another become taboo?
The other aspect of serving I think is critical is how often does serving cost us something or is an inconvenience but we do it anyway. And please hear me, I am not saying these things have to take place before you call it serving. I bring it up to maybe serve as a challenge. There are those for whom it is easier to write a check to the local food bank rather than to volunteer and serve a day, working at the food bank. If this is true for you, I would challenge you to see if you really could take a day to serve at the food bank. Likewise, if you feel led to buy groceries for somebody but know it’s going to be tight for yourself to do so, take the risk and buy them anyway.
I have always supported mission trips both prayerfully and financially when able but had never gone a trip myself. I had also heard that once you go on a mission trip, your world will change forever. To be honest, I didn’t really believe that….until I went on my first mission trip, which was to Haiti a couple of years ago. I will never be able to look at the world around us and not remember that there are people around the globe struggling this very hour to simply stay alive. Furthermore, the community in which I live, helps to make up the globe and likewise, has people struggling everyday to keep their heads above water.
We are called to serve others and whether we choose to do so by performing simple acts of kindness daily or going on monthly mission trips around the globe – in each act of service we do for others, we help to make the world a little better place.
I already know I will be writing a part 2 to this. There’s one more component to serving…..Love. Till next time.
Peace and thanks for reading!!