“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Another christmas has just come and gone, so it’s only appropriate that I write about serving. Christmas is often a time where we consider serving others, whether it be a time where we volunteer to feed the homeless, give to charities, or buy gifts for family and friends. And the core essence of Christmas is the celebration of serving, namely God sending his son Jesus as a loving sacrifice for each of us. God to his core is a servant.
Serving=putting others needs, wants, before your own in your actions and demeanor.
First 6 tips for embracing the greatness of serving:
- See servanthood as noble instead of demeaning. Flip your perspective upside down. Somehow, we’ve often come to see serving as demeaning, when it’s actually incredibly noble and beautiful. Our most heroic leaders realized this: Gandhi, MLK Jr., Jesus, Mother Theresa and many, many more.
- Let your ego die. Serve those above you, below you, and alongside you in social status. Make it a habit to do all three. Even if it’s uncomfortable at times. The only way to expand your comfort zone is to get outside of it and the best way to do that is by serving.
- Be thoughtful. One time, I unknowingly blended into my morning smoothie one of those “Do Not Eat,” freshness packets you find in freeze dried foods. My smoothie was a little grainer but I didn’t think anything of it until I started seeing plastic bits (silly me). Later that morning I told the girl I was dating at the time about drinking half of a smoothie with that stuff and that I was feeling sick. On her own volition, she called poison control to check on it. I apparently had ingested fertilized dirt, but I would be ok. She made me feel really cared for because she took the extra initiative of thoughtfulness.
- Delight in serving. Find the joy in serving, have fun with it. You have the capacity to enrich the lives of others. It’s not drudgery. It’s a pleasure, it’s an honor. Shift your attitude to reflect this perspective. The more you embrace it, the more fun you’ll have serving.
- Invite others to serve with you. Serving is more fun in community. Many years ago, a few buddies and I walk outside after seeing a movie in the theater and it had just snowed three inches. One of the guys playfully but seriously said, “Let’s clear off the snow on everyone’s cars!” We proceeded to have a blast clearing off the snow on everyone’s windshield’s that night. And it felt really good to practically and creatively serve people while having fun.
- Communicate from a disposition of serving. Be aware of others expectations, wants, and needs in terms of communication. Be considerate. Ask yourself, how will this person feel if I wait to respond for this time period, or if I respond in this way? So much misunderstanding and disappointment comes from us not being aware of what other people expectations are in communication, and us not caring enough to find out. Further, we need to realize that we each have our own expectations of communication and we attach meaning that may or may not be appropriate to certain communication patterns. For example, if your boyfriend doesn’t text you back within 2.5 minutes, it may not mean that he doesn’t care about you. It may just mean that he values being fully present to the people he’s with at the moment. But both of you can work together to figure out how you can best communicate love and respect.
More tips and thoughts on servanthood to come next week.
Embrace one of these more deeply in your life today and experience the joy and satisfaction of serving others.