I consider myself a student of “service”. I love being the beneficiary of good service. I enjoy giving others feedback about service – good and bad. Every conversation has something to offer. It is a subject that never grows old.
I sat through two extended meetings yesterday. As a result of the conversations, I find myself looking at service differently. I have considered service as a response to a problem. It is more than that. In the traditional view, service is eliminating what could go wrong or solving what has gone wrong. Both deal with the reality we find ourselves in. At times one loses the plot with this framework. Demands are overwhelming and you find yourself pushing back harder needed.
Alternatively, everything looks like a demand that cannot be satisfied. A couple of statements from an alternative viewpoint turned my focus.
When I am overwhelmed, I know that “practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him.” (1 John 2.16) However if I stop there I miss the point.
Expressions and actions happen because we are trying to say or accomplish something. What is the “it”? When someone complains, do I ask what they are trying to do or say?
What is service went beyond solving the problem to helping another accomplish a goal?
When the words servant and leadership are used together, it is about fixing and preventing problems or serving to lead?
While fixing problems are important, making a positive difference is even more so. While defending the weak is helpful, addressing the systemic forces that push others down is even more so. While responding to help others with their burdens, why not trying lightening them so nobody needs to carry?
When a problem occurs, do I address yesterday’s failure or reach for tomorrow’s goal? What if I can do both? Today is an opportunity to make a difference. It will be a unique window in your life and mine.