“Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Giving what you HAVE is an important way to serve the needs of others. For most of us, it consists of making a financial contribution that will directly or indirectly help meet the needs of others.

While there is a momentary feeling of love and gratitude that the giver feels with that contribution, it is typically short-lived. If God’s love is flowing through us in the service of others, it would be nice to dwell a little longer in that feeling.

Phase 2

Playing a more hands-on role in serving the needs of others is a good way to experience the positive feeling of the flow of God’s love.

This involves giving what you DO and represents the second phase of a Service Journey. For most of us in this phase, we offer our TIME to serve others.

As a frequent participant in the South Church Day of Service over the years, I have given a day of my time to contribute in some small way to serving in my community.

As a frequent participant in the South Church Day of Service over the years, I have given a day of my time to contribute in some small way to serving in my community.

For most of those days, I walked away with a good feeling of having helped. I was able to see the results of my efforts, whether it be painting something, clearing a trail, or cleaning something. It felt better than just writing a check, where I would not know how it would be used or what difference it would make.

However, there was one exception. One year, I arrived at the Day of Service without an assignment and was convinced to join the “caring for the elderly” team. I was assigned to the home of a wonderful South Church couple who requested help in raking the leaves in their yard.

The backstory here was that I live in a house with many very large trees in my front yard. Every fall, I spend an inordinate amount of my time raking leaves. Once I rake them all, twelve hours later my yard is filled again with fallen leaves.

I loathe leaf-raking!

So on that Day of Service, I find myself serving the needs of this wonderful couple by doing something I detest doing.

In spite of the treats and gratitude the couple heaped on us for our efforts, I found my day of service to be highly disappointing and questioned if I would even go back the following year.

While the day did not turn out as I wanted, it did teach me a valuable lesson on service.

To fully participate in the flow of God’s love through service, be sure that you are NOT serving in a way that generates negative emotions in you.

Those negative emotions will counteract any feelings of gratitude and goodwill that could be present.

Service organizations rely on volunteers giving their time to carry out their missions. I will continue to offer my time to South Church and to the Day of Service (as long as it does not include raking leaves).

Currently, South Church is working hard to match up the talents/interests of members with the work that needs to be done here. Service Central will be reaching out to the congregation in the coming months to learn what those talents and interests are. Giving your time is much better when you are doing something you enjoy doing.

While my leaf-raking service encounter was disappointing, it led me to discover the third phase of the Service Journey, which I consider to be the ultimate type of service.

Doug Bate
Service Central