When I think about the gift of service, I think about our church community.
Restore is more than a church in a community. Restore is a community of believers that have a heart to serve others. To be a servant is to be like Jesus; through our serving others we are also serving Christ and making our relationship with Him our primary concern.
As a part of the Restore community we have experienced the joy of intentionally looking for opportunities to share the Good News of the Gospel through serving others without expecting anything in return. Often when I have been presented with an opportunity to serve I can usually come up with a list of reasons (excuses) why I can’t. Something else on my schedule. I don’t have the resources. I don’t have the energy. And on and on. Yet, there has never been a time when I was not happy I served when I was finished. It’s true: you will definitely feel good after serving someone else, even though it’s not about what you get. (I can go to a good restaurant if I want the service to be all about me!) Our motivation is not what we get out of it; our motivation is the example of Jesus himself, who came to serve and not be served.
The possibilities for service are endless and so is the lasting impact, wherever it may be. As part of Restore we have provided rides for the elderly to attend the annual North Haledon Day Picnic and are often asked where we are from and why we would volunteer to do this for them. We assist with traffic control for the annual town 5k and get to see first hand the appreciation from all the runners and event organizers (who again ask us why we are volunteering to do this!) We’ve served hundreds of people a southern style meal of catfish to benefit Cary Christian Center in Mississippi and were able to hear the joy and gratitude from the people ministering there. Some have mentored kids through New City Kids in Paterson and have opportunities to tell the young children that they see potential in them. Recently, many of us have given Angel Tree gifts for New Hope Ministry in Prospect Park, and although we will most likely never see the excitement on the child’s face when they had that gift to open for Christmas, we still know that it meant a lot to them and their family.
Once you decide to no longer be a spectator on the sideline and choose to become a participant in serving, you quickly see that it is not about what you can get out of serving others but what you can put into it. All of us can have a positive impact through serving that in turn leave someone’s situation better. Everyone can serve someone. The only thing getting in the way is being consumed with ourselves.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”