Saturday, March 6, 2010

Service... And Then Self

I read an excellent post this morning at the High Calling blog:  "The One Person Who Served Jesus" by Ed Cyzewski.  And incidentally, if you want some daily bread, subscribe to the High Calling.

Cyzewski writes about events in Mark 14.  The short version...

Jesus finds Himself at the end of His journey to the cross.  Those around Him were jostling for position, trying to secure their own places in the coming Kingdom.  And in the midst of what may have been some of Christ's saddest moments, a woman approaches. 

The unnamed woman comes not with a request for healing or to listen to Him share wisdom; she comes with a gift for Jesus.  She breaks her valuable alabaster jar of perfume and pours it over His head. 

The people around Jesus indicate their shock and dismay at her waste of the expensive commodity.

The woman knows what's truly valuable and she's given Jesus the best of all gifts; she's annointed Him for His coming death.  Says Cyzewski, "Jesus could go to the cross knowing that at least one person grasped the kind of service and love he was modeling."

The woman has put serving Jesus before her own needs or desires, and for that Jesus proclaims she will be remembered throughout history.

In this post-Christian world, do enough of us understand the value of service?

Every year, the Monticello Rotarians hold a Fish Fry during Lent.  The Pinewood gymnasium was the center of some seriously hyper activity.  There were dozens of people eating fish and potatoes, playing paddle raffle, and bidding on auctioned items.  The money raised during the fish fry funds excellent community projects. 

The Rotarians know how to serve; in fact, the reason I joined the organization was because I recognized something kindred in the Rotary motto, Service Before Self, and the Rotary Four-Way Test:
Of the things we think, say or do

        1.Is it the TRUTH?
        2.Is it FAIR to all concerned?
        3.Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
        4.Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
What better way to make any decision, whether at home with family, in the office with fellow employees, or during any personal endeavor than to ask these questions?

Whenever I decide to take part in a service mission - and I take part in many - I do it because the answer to each of those four questions is a resounding "yes!"

It occurred to me last night that my service missions often become my family's service missions.

Jakob and I shopped together for the gifts we donated to the Rotary paddle raffle - fun for me, certainly.  For him?  Not so much.

Jakob helped me "wrap" the gifts and then he and Joe delivered them so I could go serve in other capacities.

Joe stayed with me until the end of the Fish Fry, and then beyond, to help with the massive clean-up project.

Of course, my greastest service missions relate to SALT's activities.  My family is called upon to serve whenever SALT has an event. 

Jakob is Program Guy and Cookie Tester Guy at concerts, making sure everyone gets a copy of the program and that the cookies are fresh and tastey. 

Adam serves often as Power Point Guy and group "roadie", loading and unloading all the equipment we need to make music happen. 

Joe wears so many hats, and never balks at the fit.  He's been a lighting technition, game manager, cake server, Power Point Guy, dancer (oh yes, it was lovely!), Money Guy, and food server. 

They all help with clean-up too.  They're such good help that I've never had to load a box back into a vehicle when they're there.  When I consider all they've done, I sort of understand why they don't always stand up and cheer when I mention that I have a new idea.

I've occassionally needed help at my Faith Formation classes too, since I always seem to get the classes with all the teenage boys.  Both Adam and Joe have managed crowd control in my various classes.

Service has always been part of my nature, and I think it's part of Joe's too.  Considering children learn what they live, I think my boys will grow and serve in their own ways.

I'm glad.

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