Community service is not something that always came easy for me. In middle school, my mom, a piano teacher, made me go with her to the nursing home regularly and sing hymns while she played the piano. I love to sing. In my car. But singing in front of others embarrassed me. Sadly, I grew to associate service with embarrassment.
Today, however, I’m grateful that the Lord didn’t give up on me in the area of service. He kept giving me more and more opportunities to serve in shelters, nursing homes and outlets through my local church. As I fell more in love with Him, I began to see community service in a different light.
I could try to encourage you for hours and hours to serve your community here in Greenville and back home, to use your particular strengths and passions to make a tangible difference. But I think it might be helpful to find some common ground first.
Christ: The Greatest Volunteer
Have you ever considered that when Jesus came, He came to serve and that through an act of service, He redeemed humanity?
Matthew 20:28 says, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Whether feeding hungry people or healing the sick, Christ served constantly.
Christ’s ministry often followed the pattern of first meeting people’s physical needs and then meeting their spiritual needs. He used service to create a relationship and a dialog about deeper needs. And through his voluntary death on the cross, Christ performed the ultimate act of service.
We’ve Been Served. Now Serve.
If I’m speaking to my brothers and sisters in Christ, then I’m confident that we all have something in common. We have been graciously saved by God, who saw us in our need and had compassion on us.
When we embrace that reality, we will inevitably fall more in love with our Savior. Love for Jesus results in love for others. Indeed, serving others should be the most organic outpouring of Christ’s service in our lives. We’ve been served so we serve.
If we were being honest, gratitude for the Gospel is the only reason any of us can participate wholeheartedly in community service. A lifetime commitment to serve those around us must be a personal decision and a decision that arises out of gratitude for Christ’s service to us.
I challenge us all, myself included, to embrace our personal callings to lifelong service. Community service is personal, and we each engage with it differently. But Christ has called us all to be His hands and feet and to continue His work of ministry-focused, people-centered service.
BEYOND: Serving with Purpose
Join the conversation about community service at the second BEYOND: Serving With Purpose Forum at 9:30 a.m. on April 6 in War Memorial Chapel. The Community Service Council and Student Leadership Council invite students, faculty and staff to a complimentary catered brunch followed by talks, breakout sessions and networking opportunities with leaders from seven Upstate nonprofits and organizations.