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“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Prime the Pump
A man was traveling and he became thirsty. As he continued walking, he came across a shack where he found a well that was connected to a pump for drawing water. Next to the pump were a note and a cup of water. “Use the water in the cup to prime the pump. After you get the water you need, fill up the cup for the next person who comes by.” Weary and thirsty the man looked at the cup of water and was tempted to drink it and be on his way. Then he thought about the person who came before him and left this note. After serious thought, he used the water in the cup to prime the pump and water came gushing out. After quenching his thirst, he replenished the water in the cup. Before leaving he added to the note, “Trust me, it works!”
By trusting the person before him, he not only equipped himself for his journey but became a servant to the next person who would come by. Similar to the effect of water on thirst, service can quench the thirst that many carry in their hearts. When we serve we fuse our lives together regardless of race, culture, religion, or level of influence. We can all meet and connect at the common ground of service. This fusion or interconnectedness through service adds value to life.
In today’s post, we will look at three important aspects of service. I believe that by the end you will be stirred to step out of your comfort zone and prime the pump of service for greater impact in life.
Find opportunities to serve
A life of service is not possible where love is absent. Other-centeredness, as opposed to self-centeredness, will deepen your appreciation for life. We overcome our insecurities by serving others. We shorten the distance between where we are and where we want to be by serving. Look around, the opportunities to serve are everywhere.
Greatness in life is preceded by service for others. Most of the time we ask, “What will happen to me? But a servant asks, “What will happen if I don’t help?”
The mark of genuine and authentic humanity will always be service governed by love. We become servants when we get down from where we are, come to the level of those that need our help, and bring them up to a place they couldn’t get to on their own. In short, we give the advantage instead of taking it.
Give others the advantage don’t take it
In a time where many people are being taken advantage of through fake news, phone and internet scams, manipulative marketing, and the inhumane trafficking of people, we can become difference makers by giving others the advantage.
A story I read about a Chick-fil-A in Alabama has always stuck with me regarding this. In January 2014, snow, which is a rare occurrence in Alabama, fell, leaving motorists stranded on a major highway. A mile from the highway was a Chick-fil-A. Seeing the situation, they decided to cook several hundred sandwiches and give them free of charge to motorists who had been stuck on the highway for hours. But Chick-fil-A’s service and generosity didn’t stop there. They also opened up their dining room to anyone who needed a place to sleep on a bench or in a booth. The stranded motorists were surprised at this act of kindness and some wondered, “Why not make extra money in this storm?” The answer is that Chick-fil-A has created a model that is centered around service, not money or profit. I believe this is one of the reasons why they have risen to be one of the top restaurant chains despite being closed on Sunday. They capture the heart of this observation by Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”
What ways could you give other the advantage in the second half of this year? Your value in relation to others will rise exponentially when you serve to give the advantage. In a hopeless situation, Chick-fil-A found an opportunity to serve and give the advantage. And they did it immediately.
Service and success are closely linked. People who rarely serve hardly find success or satisfaction in life. And as author James Clear says, “Successful people start before they feel ready.” A feeling rarely comes when we want it to. But when we decide to act on what is right, the feeling catches up to our actions. Don’t wait for a feeling to start serving, just do it like the Nike slogan says.
A Chinese proverb articulates, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Where can you serve now? Are you stepping over your next opportunity to exercise servanthood? Are you waiting to be served to reciprocate it? Take the initiative instead and serve now. In the words of tennis great Arthur Ashe, “Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.”
Final thought: The question of service isn’t size, it’s the impact. When we serve we operate from a vantage point of love. We not only meet needs we touch hearts. We leave a mark that cannot be erased. We get more out of life when we serve others. Fulfillment is a byproduct of service. Greatness knocks on the doors of those who serve. Prime the pump by finding opportunities to serve and giving others the advantage. But if you really want to impact the world, start serving where you are now. Trust me, it works!
Keep on Keeping on!