By Camille Brown
When we hear the word “service” many of us solely think about service in light of specific duties or obligations. We continue to ask ourselves “how and when can I serve?” Thus, we place limitations on our actions. We make serving a waiting game, meaning that we wait for a charity to ask for money, only donate clothes when they are ripping at the seems, or even go to a food drive event only to receive credit or add something to our resumes. While getting involved in community announced event, philanthropy service drives, or volunteering at a homeless shelter during holidays are honorable and perfectly worthy actions, service should never stop there.
Smaller scale service is just as noble, for service is the act of putting someone else before yourself. We are called to look at every individual as beautiful gifts from the Lord. In thinking in such a way, we can enter every instance with a servant heart by asking someone how their day was, carrying something to their car for them, sitting with someone that looks lonely at lunch, writing others notes of encouragement, etc. If you feel that you could do something to make someone’s life a little happier or just to see a smile on their face, that is service. God, creating us in the image of Christ, planted within us a genuine heart of servitude. A heart of servitude that lives within each one of us every waking moment of our day to day lives. It is our job to recognize this empathetic gift and not put it to waste. In this way, we begin to view service not as a task, but rather a lifestyle, in which we put others before ourselves.
“To prepare for service and learn the nobility of serving, thereby earning the right to be served. “
Going through college, people ask you many questions about how you want to serve in life such as, “what is your passion?” or the even more loaded question, “how are you going to change the world?” These are valid questions and ones that we need to focus on; however, you must remember that your passion, your future, and your ability to change the world starts this second. Not tomorrow, next week, not when the diploma is placed in your hands, or in the next five years, but this very second.
The beautiful power of service is that you do not need any qualifications to do for others.
We can breathe a sigh of relief because service does not require a degree and can come at any time. At times, college can seem selfish with no free time for anything but test, papers, projects, and internships.
However, do not let a busy schedule distract you from empathetically looking out for those around you. It’s easy to get this wide picture in your head that for service to count, it must be on a grandeur scale. However, never forget the impact of even the smallest amount of service. Buy a friend lunch, write them a note of encouragement when you know they are having a difficult week, fold their laundry for them, help them study by quizzing them for ten minutes, make their bed for them, or even include them in your prayer list.
Service should be a part of everyone’s God-given purpose. Whatever moment you are currently in, whether your swimming upstream or barely treading water, your Heavenly Father planted you there for a specific reason. More importantly; however, our Lord surrounded us with people to cheer us on in victory and to carry with us when we are wallowing in defeat. As our creed states that we are to “prepare for service and learn the nobility of serving, thereby earning the right to be served,” we must remember that to receive is first to give. This means that in order to receive the fulfillment that life has to offer, we must give it our whole hearts. Whether it’s going door to door asking for canned goods for the less fortunate and picking up trash while you are surrounded by animals, like last weekend’s event, or just asking a friend if they need help carrying stuff to their car. God created you worthy to receive the eternal blessing of His passion, giving you a community of brothers and sisters also created in His image. Remembering that in order to love as Christ loves:
“Each of [us] should use whatever gift [we] have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace” (1 Peter 4:10).