transforming darkness into light

SERVING ONE ANOTHER; THE TRUE SPIRIT OF GIVING

Volunteer, Volunteerism, Volunteering“In serving one another we become free,” is a line from the movie First Knight which is about King Arthur’s knights and round table of fame. It’s actually a good message for any generation and a true one. Many already know what it means and they live by it. It’s about serving one’s fellow man and how that service sets you free from being self-absorbed, or at least it can do that for those who serve with the right attitude and understanding. Some who serve do so with the goal of getting recognition from men, or to wield power over others. That’s not what Arthur had in mind, nor is it the right attitude.

The kind of service to others that blesses the giver as well as the recipient is serving others for the sake of helping one’s fellows, expecting nothing in return. Many have experienced the blessings that come from serving others in this manner, and once you get a taste of it, you’ll want more! One thing I’ve been shown, is that when you bless others the blessings always come back to you at some point. They may not come from the same person or place where you sowed your seed of blessing or in the same manner. They usually return to you from an unexpected source, at an unexpected time, in an unexpected way. Even so, that’s not the reason we should serve others. We serve others because in doing so “we become free,” or in other words, we are set free from self-centeredness and selfishness. A saying I love is what Jesus Christ told his followers, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” [1] That includes self-sacrifice of any kind, not only dying. When we serve others we in effect lay down our lives, giving of our resources, time, and energy.

To me, that’s what real freedom is. These days many believe it’s about being able to say or do whatever comes into their minds, but that kind of freedom is often self-serving and destructive! That kind of freedom doesn’t bless or set free, and it’s not the freedom our brave fore-fathers and mothers fought and died for on the world’s battlefields. Their service is a prime example of self-sacrificing service to others and it raises the bar, the standard of excellence, for the rest of us. The best way we can show them our gratitude is to follow their example by serving others with the same commitment, energy, and passion.

I like the idea of “becoming free” as a virtue we aspire to rather than as a right we’re born with. We aren’t born with a right to be free; we’re born to learn how to serve one another. We’re all given opportunities to acquire this kind of freedom and if we’re not serving others in some capacity whether large or small, then we’re not really living and we’re not truly FREE.

As I’ve once said, I’m not a big believer in making New Year’s resolutions, but this year I’m making an exception. My prayer and goal for 2019 is that it will be a year of LOVING AND SERVING our neighbors near and far. Jesus said that our neighbor is any man, woman, or child [2]. I believe that if everyone did this, the world would become a better place than it is at present. I know, some will say that’s impossible and won’t work because the world is only getting darker. At the root of that sense of futility often lays a life-time of negative experiences: broken promises, bitter disappointments, endless monotony, and unanswered prayers. Yet Jesus said that “All things are possible to him that believes.” [3] He never said that faith comes through our experiences, but through “hearing” His words! [4] Therefore, if we’re to have real faith, the kind that transforms darkness into light, we must “hear” His words, and true hearing isn’t just reading and quickly forgetting what we’ve read. When we truly hear His words, they will transform us so that we can become a blessing and a gift to the world – a veritable light in the darkness.

One last point; it’s easy to come up with a reason or reasons why you can’t serve God and your fellow man, but no matter what your station or condition is in life, you can find a way. Serving for the right reason brings blessings to both giver and receiver. Hear now the words of our Savior Jesus Christ who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” [5], and go do it!

 

FOOTNOTES:

[1] John 15:13
[2] Luke 10:29-37
[3] Mark 9:23
[4] Romans 10:17
[5] Act 20:35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.