What do you think when you hear the word “servant” or “service?” For me, service projects and missions come to mind. Maybe when you think of a servant, you think of someone who is poor, or a person who works in full time ministry, or maybe even your waitress at a restaurant. Even though none of these perceptions are wrong, I think christian service extends far beyond any of these categories. “Servant” is a word us Christian folk like to throw around a lot. I’ve grown up my entire life hearing that I should be a “servant of The Lord” or that I should have a “servant’s heart” but I never understood what that meant until I started working as a camp counselor.
I took my job as a counselor at Warren Willis Camp this summer knowing that I was hired to serve campers for two months. Although going into this experience I had a small understanding of what true service looked like, I had no idea what literally serving others 24/7 meant. 7 weeks in, here is what I have learned.
Serving others stems from one of Jesus’ greatest commandments in our lives, loving others as we love ourselves. This commandment will look different for everyone. Here at camp, my service to campers can take form in many unique ways, like head banging at praise time even though I just woke up from a nap, trying to learn how to whip and nae nae with middle school boys, or even quite literally serving them food at every meal. Although it seems obvious that I am able to serve people at camp, I have realized these opportunities are not confined to camp, and that children in methodist youth groups are not the only ones who desire to experience this expression of love.
The most impactful way we can mimic Jesus’ love and service is through our everyday actions. Although foreign missions and jobs at summer camps are important, we can, and should serve others for more than a few weeks out of the year. Do we only love Jesus for 8 out of 52 weeks ? Do we only love our friends, family, and neighbors during the summer months? If we continue to profess our faith year round, then our service to God and to others should follow that trend. Service can, and should be a part of our everyday lives. I wholly believe that the world would be a much kinder place, and the church would be a much more welcoming environment if everybody woke up with the intention to continually serve others throughout the day. We can do this in ways as simple as letting a car pull out in front of you, sending someone an encouraging text, or asking how someone’s day went. “Acts of service” does not always mean rebuilding a home, or painting a church. It is considering others’ needs before our own. It is as simple as just being nice.
So to me, that’s what a servants’s heart is. It’s not being the first to sign up for a mission trip. It’s not the most talented roofer. It’s not the person who logged the most service hours. It’s Continually loving people, and sharing your love for God by taking care of others before yourself.
How beautiful would it be if everyday we gave, and were given to, living to eternally pour into each other?