Thursday, September 25, 2008

Welcome Back to Service Thursday

I took my own advice today. I had posted about taking a few minutes to talk to someone who was feeling down.

For me, it was a co-worker, I’ll call Alice.

Ever since I joined the team I currently work on, Alice has pretty well kept to herself. She has a great sense of humor and a bigger than anything smile, but she just seems to prefer staying in her shell most of the time.

The best part of what happened today was that it was straight out of the blue.

We were having a conversation about work in IM and, when there was a break, I just typed a few lines telling her how much I appreciated having her on the team and how I enjoy working with her.

What I said was absolutely true. I would never lie to a person for the sole purpose of making them feel good, nor would I advocate doing that.

Her first question: “Where did that come from?”

My answer: “From the heart.”

She thought I was being a smart alec – a wise cracker. But I wasn’t and I told her so. I emphasized some of the things I’ve seen her do for others around the office, and told her I liked the fact that she cares so much about other people. I told her that her actions spoke volumes about her intuitive caring nature, and pointed out how nice she's always been to me.

Then she surprised me. She said, “What comes around goes around. It’s easy to be nice to you because you’re nice.”

I have to say, this is a conversation I’ll remember for a long, long time. I couldn't get the smile off my face for the rest of the day.

Serving others isn’t always easy – and it's rarely convenient as one good woman posted in the comments section of my blog. She’s right. Many times we have to step out of our comfort zones in order to help someone else. This is especially true if we don’t know or like or get along with the person we’re serving.

Think about it. How easy is it to stop and chat with a homeless person? How do you feel about someone who appears outwardly hostile towards mankind? What’s your reaction to someone who sits next to you in church or a professional setting and they smell of alcohol, cigarettes or it smells like they need a shower?

How easy is it to step outside our safety circle and – literally or figuratively – embrace that person?

What if at worship services they don’t know the hymns or when to say “Amen”? What if they sing off key?

What if they’re a sinner?

These are things each of us struggle with (or have struggled with) from time to time). None of us is perfect, but the beauty of service to others is that neither the served nor the one being served needs to be perfect in order for simple service to be effective and appreciated.

You don’t have to be perfect to serve someone else.

You don’t have to be perfect to allow yourself to be served.

So, my challenge today, Thursday, September 25th is this –

Serve a stranger. Do it, even if it makes you a bit uncomfortable.

God has made the rain fall on both you and the one you need to serve today. But He’s made the sun come out and shine on you both as well. He is no respecter of persons. Yeah, I know – He’s God of the Universe, and He has the ability to look past imperfections.

I’ll let you in on a secret. If you can try, with a prayer in your heart, you can, too.

Just try. That’s all anyone can expect. Don’t be perfect.

Just try.

And, as always, I’m asking you to pass it on.

James

6 comments:

Clemntine said...

This one will be tough for me. I'm a SAHM, and I have a newborn, so the last stranger I saw was the burly nurse who removed my catheter after I had the baby. Ahem.

I think this is such an important idea, though, that I will pray for the opportunity to serve a stranger today and trust God to make it possible.

malli said...

I have a story to share about serving.

When I was in high school, my best friend and I were walking down the street one day, and we saw a dog get hit by a car. He wasn't dead but we could tell he was badly hurt. I really didn't want to take on the responsibility for the dog, but I couldn't leave an injured dog in the road either.

We went over to him and I picked him up. He was bleeding pretty bad. We carried him to my friend's house and called his owners (luckily he had a collar and ID tag), and they came to pick him up. We could tell they were very grateful. My friend said, "Oh good, I can put this on my Young Womens' log as an example of when I helped someone." That was nice, but what was important to me was that we helped the dog, not necessarily to get credit for it. :)

Laurel Wreath said...

Cemntine always cracks me..

Anyways I love this idea we were talking about this very thing in bible study last night.

Blessings.

Stacie - Your Avon Lady said...

I got this yesterday from twitter.com/iquote and I think it fits in perfectly with this post.

"See God in every person, place, and thing, and all will be well in your world." -- Louise Hay

We are all one - every living thing! We all are part of the same source energy. We are not at all the same on the outside, but corny as it sounds, we are exactly the same on the inside!

~hugs~

Clemntine said...

Update: The phone rang this afternoon, and it was an older lady trying to reach the housekeeping business that has a phone number similar to ours (ironic, no? as the housekeeping around here leaves much to be desired). I told her she had the wrong number and asked if she had a pencil so I could give her the right one. She thanked me several times for not hanging up on her and for giving her the correct number and told me that the phone book print was so small that she was always frustrated trying to look up phone numbers. Since our son has low vision, I happen to know where to get large print phone books, so I gave her that number as well so she could call and have one delivered. She called me a Darlin' Little Thing.

Service Thursday - even the hormonal can do it!

T. J. said...

I don't remember who, but someone said, "Kings and cabbages go back to compost but good deeds stay fresh forever."