Service Before Self
By Brianne George, Director of Student Ministries | January 29, 2020
One of the milestone requirements to graduate from my Catholic high school was to complete over 100 hours of service. As you can imagine, the idea of being “forced to serve” in order to graduate didn’t sit well with many students. Some students went willingly into varied areas of service, but others were more vocal about their frustration. Students would plead “I am busy with (work, schoolwork, sports, clubs, social life) and I don’t want to do it.” The clergy faculty would not relent, but a curious thing happened. The students became physicians caring for AIDS patients in Africa, dentists providing care to the poor in Guatemala, attorneys providing pro bono legal assistance to immigrants, some joined the clergy… the lesson of service had taken root and had become a value for many graduates. I am thankful the lesson stuck!
Two of my personal core values resonate with the life of service. In my mind, what a joyous life! First, one of my core values comes from my career in the United States Air Force. The Air Force has three core values, one of which is “Service before Self.” Plain. Simple. Serve others before yourself. Second, another of my core values comes from Simon Sinek’s book, Leaders Eat Last. The concept of this book is that leadership is simply about taking care of people, even when it demands personal sacrifice. Both of these examples resonate because Jesus was clear about putting others first. “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be bondservant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43b-45) Serving others is an opportunity to let Christ work through us and to honor his sacrifice.
When you live a life congruent with your values, life feels rich and fulfilling. In my family’s case, we all share the value of service and went last year on the first week of the Rockport Youth Mission Adventure. Our kids have been on multiple missions, but this was our first time participating as a family. We came home closer than we’ve ever been and that bond has only strengthened as we find other ways to serve. In glorifying God through service to others, we received this gift as a family. I don’t know why we waited so long to participate in mission as a family. It was life-changing.
Our Student Ministry program is beginning to prepare for our summer mission trips. We have a team heading to Guatemala where they will serve by building homes and working at the orphanage to care for the most vulnerable–orphans. Our domestic team is traveling to Memphis, Tennessee to work in ministry with the poor, homeless, and inner-city children to deliver the Good News and comfort to communities in need. Serving enriches their lives and you can be a part of a life-changing experience. Come join us for the Youth Mission Information Meeting this Sunday from 10:15-11:05 in the Youth Room. We need adult volunteers as well as youth to serve, but there is no obligation to come to learn about amazing opportunities to support our missions!