Posts Tagged ‘Service’

Stooping To HelpHave you ever seen a child instinctively help another child up when he falls? Do you recall a time when you immediately went to someone’s aid without having to stop and think about it simply because there was a need and you wanted to help? It seems like such a simple matter, but it appears that as we “mature” and find ourselves in different positions and roles in life, that willingness to stoop to help others lives in constant danger of being suppressed.

The attention of the world in recent days has been given to the new Pope Francis and especially his lifestyle of service, simplicity and humility through the years. Against the backdrop of world leaders often living in splendor while their countrymen suffer, such an attitude is, indeed, refreshing. Nobody is too good or too important to serve others.

While reading Nehemiah the last couple of days about the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall in the 5th century B.C., Nehemiah 3:5 jumped out at me. In the midst of a passage talking about the various groups that shared in the responsibility of rebuilding and repairing, we read: “And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.”

Who would not stoop? The nobles. The work was being done by a vast number of people eager to do the work, to be part of a cause greater than themselves. Yet here was a group of people who considered themselves greater than the work. They considered it beneath them, yet it was the most significant work of that century for that people.

The problem with considering yourself too good to stoop to help others is that those who hold such an attitude are completely inaccurate in their self-assessment. They aren’t really too good or lofty to serve or help others – they just think they are. They are mistaken.

I am thankful for the example of everyday men and women, boys and girls, who care more about helping others than about maintaining some off-base inflated self-assessment of their importance. I am grateful for leaders who understand and practice servant leadership. I am humbled by people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty and to live life in the trenches if that is where the need is found.

“But whoever must be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” – Jesus, Mark 10:43-45.

So many professions involve serving others, and so much of life outside of work can (and probably should) revolve around serving others as well.  When we consider professions like teaching, customer service, waiting tables, domestic help, nonprofit organization work, retail service, the food industry, religious ministry and more, a large part of our interactions with others day by day rely on their service to us.  Without them we would feel lost and it would be difficult to navigate in our world without their presence and much-needed assistance.

Then as we consider how our discretionary time is spent, we come up with a laundry list of possible ways to serve others such as coaching, helping the needy, parenting, volunteering at nonprofit and religious organizations, responding to regional crises and so-called “acts of God,” neighborhood watches, advocacy initiatives, etc.

Service to others doesn’t have to be through a formal organization or program.  It can just be you finding a need and filling it in your neighborhood or anywhere else on the globe.  No one else even needs to know about it.

What happens when you decide to stop living life so much for yourself and focus instead on what good you can do for others?  You leave a much more significant footprint along your path – one that isn’t easily forgotten by the next day’s tide that washes the memories or benefits away.  Rather, you leave an imprint on the hearts of those you serve with love, respect and compassion.  And you leave an equal imprint on your heart to match.  That is more lasting and meaningful for everyone, though impossible to measure.

I  realize that early adult years are often focused on accumulation of things and attempting to move up the ladder in one’s profession.  Please don’t ignore, though, the great good for others and the life lessons learned by you when you intentionally devote effort for the good of others.

Leap year lesson #153 is Invest your lives in others.