Growing in Service

What good does service do?

Trying to do some good for a family devastated by a massive tornado in 1999, I helped build them a new a house. This tornado had robbed the ground along its path of very blade of grass. It had bent massive I-beams that once supported a home as if they were a twist-tie for a giant’s garbage bag; that home had completely disappeared. The beneficiaries of our service merely had their home picked up and moved a few yards, with them inside. When finished, our beneficiaries would have a home on a thick concrete slab with a steel reinforced room into which they could roll a wheelchair.

As the moderator of the committee that had sponsored that trip I was aware of what we had spent on food for the week, for airfare, van rental, and other expenses. (Our lodging had come courtesy of a near-by, but largely unaffected, Presbyterian congregation.) I left wondering if we could have done more for our beneficiaries by merely sending a check and hiring local a contractor.

On the other hand, the team of volunteers with whom I had served had been transformed by our service. The hot climate demanded that we arise early to arrive at our work-site by dawn, we would take a long lunch, then —when the temperature had cooled back below 100 degrees Fahrenheit— returning to work and staying until dusk. Yet every evening we would stay awake talking about our families and about our faith.

When have you been transformed by acts of service?

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
— 1 Corinthians 12:7

I will have more to say about 1 Corinthians 12:4-12 and participating in hands-on service on Sunday, November 22nd, at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.