It’s no secret that I LOVE to cook, especially for other people. I enjoy fixing my husband a home cooked meal nearly every night. I enjoy cooking for potlucks, parties, events, and just because. But this isn’t really the service I’m thinking about today.
It’s approaching Memorial Day Weekend here in the US, and while it’s officially the kick off to summer with BBQ, camping, gardening, lawn mowing, and that sort of thing – it’s also the recognition of our service men and women and the jobs they do and have done for generations to protect out freedom. But this isn’t really the service I’m thinking about today.
Today I’m thinking about serving others, and by doing so, also serving God. I’m here to fulfill a purpose. To do something bigger than myself. To make a difference. To impact someones life. To enrich my own life.
The happiest people are those who do the most for others. – Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and an adviser to presidents of the United States. He was from the last generation of black American leaders born into slavery and he became the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants. His work in the late 1800s and early 1900s paved the way for the civil rights movement of the 1950s. While some would characterize him as a political machine, it is clear to me that his life work was about supporting and serving the former slaves and setting the groundwork for establishing equal rights among all people in the US. He instigated great change, and served others. He was also a Christian man. This quote is from his autobiography Up From Slavery, “If no other consideration had convinced me of the value of the Christian life, the Christlike work which the Church of all denominations in America has done during the last thirty-five years for the elevation of the black man would have made me a Christian.” What a powerful testament, to both his own belief, but also to his life work serving the black community.
This is the kind of service I’m thinking about today. How can I serve others while serving God? What is my service roll in this great world? What is my potential impact and how does it fit into God’s plan? Sure, these are big questions, but shouldn’t we all be asking them? Do we not all want to make a difference in this world? We can’t all be as influential as Booker T. Washington and end up on the pages of history texts, or can we?
It starts small, a tiny mustard seed of faith, that grows into a mighty bush. A flickering thought, a small change we can make today may just incite a movement. One tiny pebble makes a ripple across still water that is exponentially greater than it’s own size.
As I think about serving others, it seems like such a grand concept, especially compared to someone like Booker T. Washington. But it doesn’t have to be.
It can start as a simple act of courtesy. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Pick up the hat that’s blown off in the wind and return it to the young man scrambling across the parking lot.
Acknowledge the workers in your life – the janitor who cleans the bathrooms at work, the mail delivery person, the trash collector, the greeter at the store, the cashier at bank, the city bus driver, the cops and firemen, all those people who make your life pleasant – and safe – just by doing their job.
Adopt a random act of kindness project. Pay for a strangers coffee or bus fare. Leave a generous tip to a hardworking waiter/waitress. Deliver anonymous flowers to the widow down the street.
Volunteer in your community. Is there an organization you can join – a historical society, community improvement group, neighborhood watch group, intramural sports, railroading club, master gardeners, etc. Get to know your community, and volunteer for positions of action and/or leadership.
In my life…I try to be courteous and friendly, I do random acts of kindness and pay it forward kinds of things regularly. I am active in my church, helping out with potlucks and organizing things. I work with our teen girls ministry as a mentor, and am very active in our women’s ministry as well. In the MRKH community I spend time conversing with and mentoring younger MRKH sisters, and building bonds with sisters around the world. I’ve also partnered with the Beautiful You MRKH Foundation with the Courageous Project to raise money to support and empower women with MRKH. All these areas of service fuel my spirit, and I often feel that the payout for me is much greater than the work I put into it.
It bears repeating I think, that today I’m thinking about serving others, and by doing so, also serving God. I’m here to fulfill a purpose. To do something bigger than myself. To make a difference. To impact someones life. To enrich my own life.
What are you serving today?