By Pastor Royston Smith
Our world seems to be shrinking. Decades ago, it took months to travel from one part of the world to another. Fast forward to today, we only need a few hours. Living in a global community, travelling is a part of our daily lives. We rely on our families and the wider community as we navigate this journey called life. It can be a bumpy ride at times, far too much of a challenge to travel alone. Truthfully, no one can go through life with without giving and receiving support. These sentiments were echoed by Peter Schickele when he wrote, “No man is an island; no man stands alone. Each man’s joy is joy to me, each man’s grief is my own. We need one another, so I will defend each man as my brother, each man as my friend”
For some people, support means a providing listening ear or lending a helping hand to a friend who is going through a tough time. The action of helping or doing work for someone is referred to as service. Being of service is lending support and this gives unimaginable pleasure. “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody,”- Chinese Proverb. Those who are regularly perform acts of service tend to be happier and experience richer personal growth. Prioritising the needs of others helps us to appreciate how blessed we are. If we are always receiving and never giving, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to truly live. When we seek to make others happy, we stumble on it for ourselves.
Acts of service are contagious. Recently, the nation had an appointment on Thursday evenings at 8:00PM to show our appreciation to the NHS for their service during the pandemic. The weekly clap was a token gesture for a much greater effort. The staff of the NHS continually risked their lives to save others. Their service inspired the then 99-year old Captain Tom Moore to embark on a walkathon (with the aid of his walking frame) as a means of raising funds for the NHS. Upon reaching his 100th birthday Captain Tom Moore had raised over £30 million. Kindness begets kindness.
Jesus showed us what a life of service should look like. He genuinely cared about others, His eyes, heart, and hands were always ready to offer help. No need was insignificant, no prompting to serve was ever ignored. Every encounter was life-altering. Ask the children he blessed and shared stories with. Ask the soldier whose child he healed. Ask the disciples whose dirty mucky feet he washed. No task was ever beneath Jesus, and no person was ever unworthy. As faces differ so do the needs, yet our response ought to reflect that of Jesus. We are called to serve.
What do you care about? What really matters to you? To live a purposeful life, we must use our gifts to serve others. Look around, there are needs everywhere, choose one project and make a start. Take positive actions, make a difference that improves our world. ‘I was hungry, and you fed me, I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was homeless and you gave me a room. I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick, and you stopped to visit. I was in prison and you came to me…Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:36-40
Heavenly Father, we are so thankful for your example of service. This journey called life is not a smooth ride. Help us to lend a helping hand each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.