Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living. – Albert Einstein.
Medal of Honor
On April 1st, 1942, a young 23-year-old Desmond Doss signed up for the US Army at the heat of the Second World War. Doss’ sign up and service in the Army was not an ordinary one, given that he signed up at the middle of the war. According to records, he had a deferment not to serve, which most young men were eager to do.
What’s astonishing about Doss was how he served. With his dreams of being a doctor wiped away by the Great Depression, Doss joined the army as a medic. Being a devout Christian, he did not believe in taking a life. He made an oath to never touch a gun and subsequently requested the army not to issue him with one. Yes, as it might shock you now, it shocked the Army officers and fellow soldiers; how could he be a soldier and not have a gun! But his belief to make a difference by serving in a time of war made him decide, “While everybody is taking life, I’m going to be saving it, and that’s going to be my way to serve.” At the end of his service Desmond Doss had saved over seventy lives on the battlefield without shooting a single bullet. His Medal of Honor was truly a Medal of Service.
You can Server
You don’t have to join the armed forces to serve, you don’t need to be a leader to serve, you don’t need to have material possessions to serve, and you don’t need to have extraordinary talents to serve. Serving is the act(s) you do that alters how others feel. Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Two truths about service are; first, everyone is serving someone. Whether you knew it or not you served someone today as long as you had any human contact. Second, at the elemental level, service impacts how people feel. What Maya implied is, your actions of service might be forgotten but the outcome of your service will never be forgotten. I believe since serving is about impacting how others feel, whether we do it consciously or unconsciously, we all are capable of serving. You too can serve.
And as Ralph W. Emerson once stated, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Serving is the channel through which we accomplish our life’s purpose.
In today’s post, my goal is to point you to three things that you can do daily to develop courage to serve others in such a way that it will increase your impact, make a difference in the lives of others and touch people’s hearts.
1. Choose an Abundance mindset
At a very young age, I believe that I could make a difference. I remember one time there was a very devastating drought in many parts of Kenya, where I was born and raised. The government and nonprofit organization’s’ efforts seemed like a drop in the ocean. News outlets were constantly reporting of how people were dying, especially in the Northern parts of the country. On a Sunday afternoon, a lady who was unfamiliar to me stood in front of the local church and announced that her and an organization she was working with were conducting a food drive. She told us where food was being collected.
On Monday morning my dad gave me some lunch money as he was accustomed. But instead of eating lunch that day, I decided that I would go to the supermarket and by a pound or two of flour and take it to the food drop off location, to go help those who didn’t have food. What really shocked me was when I got to the food drive, I happened to be the first person to donate food. What I didn’t tell you was that the lady and her team had visited many churches the previous week. But out of the people who heard the call for donations, I, a young boy at the time was the was the first to donate. All you need is to have an abundance mindset.
When you have an abundance mindset, you will discover a few things. First, there is more than you need. Unlike a scarcity mindset, which makes you feel there is not enough for you and creates selfishness attitude in you, abundance mindset expands what you have and enables you to see opportunities to serve and give to others. Second, it makes you a river and not a reservoir. Being a river means you have the ability to pour in others. You pour material things such as food and resources like money and also the most essential and most potent things that are intangible like love, hope, compassion, and empathy; the things that make us human. Lastly, when you possess an abundance mindset, you become a person who is full of gratitude. Gratitude and an abundance mindset feed into each other. When you are grateful you develop an abundance mindset. When you see abundance, you become grateful. Being grateful does one more thing, it enables us to be okay with the discomfort required to serve others.
2. Be okay with a little discomfort
The one thing that keeps most people from serving others is the feeling of discomfort that comes with it. It’s true that when we serve others, we will at times be inconvenienced; we will often go out of our way. What I have discovered is that my service to others is greatest when I am out of my comfort zone. The more I go out of my way to help the deeper I reach into peoples’ hearts. As a result, they feel loved, honored, and important. This has helped me forge some of my deepest relationships.
The moment you start being okay with a little discomfort to help someone, when you don’t allow your position to prevent you from climbing down the hierarchy, and when you’re willing to go the extra mile, it’s when you develop courage to serve others. I have also learned that we can only be okay with discomfort, when we have hope for a better tomorrow.
3. Have hope of a better tomorrow
Hope is one of the most powerful human traits that brightens the future. Hope gives us confidence to act on you believe. It gives courage to forget ourselves so that we can serve others. Zig Ziegler said it well, “If there is hope in the future, there is literally power in the present.” Having hope for a better tomorrow will allow us to serve others.
When we have hope for a better tomorrow, we see possibilities in the present and opportunities in the future. I have seen that it helps me understand that though I might not have all that I want, God has provided for all my needs and therefore I can share. I have found God to be my true source of hope because I believe He holds the future, meets my needs, and He issues the medals of honor for serving others. What’s your source of hope?
Serving others may look tiresome in the beginning or may make you uncomfortable but along the way it turns out to be the most fulfilling endeavor you could be in. Therefore, what’s next is for you to use the following two questions to reflect on your service to others; am I serving others in a positive and constructive manner? And, how can I apply what I have learned here to start or continue to serve others in a courageous way?
Cheering you on. Go serve.