Service Above Self

107 years ago day on February 23, 1905, Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney,  met with three business colleagues Gustavus Loehr, Hiram Shorey, and Silvester Schiele  to talk about their personal experiences. Harris then unfolded his general plan for the formation of a club. From that inauspicious beginning the world’s first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago was born.  Today there are more than 1.2 million Rotarians in 34,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas world-wide, who volunteer their time, share their talent and give of their treasure to serve their local community and people around the world.

Full disclosure demands I tell you I am a Rotarian.  Dr. Rufus Clifford, one of the Shepherds in the Jackson Heights church of Christ in Columbia, Tennessee, sponsored me into Rotary in 1996. When I moved to Tampa 10 years ago, Bill Hammontree sponsored me into the Tampa North Rotary Club.  It has been an enjoyable association for me.  I write this today not to honor Rotary, or to plug our club, or even to entice you to join, but to share some thoughts based on our motto “Service Above Self.” 

Sometimes I am asked, “Why are you in Rotary?”  That’s easy to answer.  It’s a way for me as a Christian to fulfill Galatians 6:10.  “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Too often I have heard men preach on what the verse doesn’t mean and never get around to talking about what it does mean. (Some of you know what I’m talking about!)

Of course, Rotary is not a religious organization, but it is built on those eternal principles that have served as the moral compass for people throughout the ages. Through it I am able to do good.  Serve others. Share with those less fortunate. I can do work in my community that is not assigned the spiritual work of the church.  And that’s really why I’m using this opportunity to write this post. 

Too often Christians isolate themselves from the real world.  Christianity is not wrapped up in just “going to church.”  Bill Donahue expressed it this way, “Jesus commanded us to speak, love and serve others as He would, and live lives that are increasing in love, joy and the other fruit of the Spirit.  Disciples are not just people with more answers to Bible questions or who attend more events or listen to more Christian radio.  Disciples are people who act like Christ, who are willing to be trained in the disciplines of prayer, solitude, worship, Bible reading and study, community and ministry.  They are life long learners and lovers of Christ.” 

Jesus said that he came not to be served, but to serve (Matt 20:28).  While his mission was to “seek and save the lost” (Lk 19:10), he was not oblivious to the needs of others.  Their hurt.  Their pain.  Their suffering.  “He went about doing good,” wrote Dr. Luke (Acts 10:38).  And, He desires that his disciples follow in his steps. 

There are so many opportunities to do good.  Rotary is just one way.  There are other clubs and organizations that serve specific needs.  I know a sister who volunteers at the hospital.  A preacher friend of mine has set up a fund to aid starving people in Africa.  Another friend volunteers at a homeless shelter.  Several years ago some of the students where I preached gathered clothing to donate to a shelter.  I know of Doctors who have donated their services treat people in impoverished areas or other countries.  

Think how you can serve others.  It may be a monetary donation.  Maybe you have a skill, gift or talent to help someone who can’t help themselves. Or it could be shared time.  Time to listen.  Listen to encourage.  Time to volunteer. 

Christ has called us to “service above self.”  Look for opportunities to serve.  Find your niche’. Then go about doing good!


Filed under Service

4 responses to “Service Above Self

  1. Amy

    Hi there! I’m so glad that I read this, as it has helped to encourage me with something that I’m working on. The Lord blessed me with the idea of doing something very similar to the clothing donations that you mentioned from a few years back. I had talked to a sister in Christ asking for some advice on how to glorify God in relationships, and our discussion led me to think of areas of my life that I hadn’t given up to Him completely. I feel as if I remember you complimenting some of my shoes in the past, but I don’t know that you would know necessarily how many I have. It’s a number I’d rather not disclose even if I was aware of what it currently is. Suffice it to say that I realized there’s no call for me to have such an abundance when there are so many who are going without. I prayed about it and I thought more about it which led me to consider not only donating some of my belongings, but urging others to do the same.

    Now, my plan is to reach out to all of the Lord’s churches in the area and see where there is a need for clothing or shoes among the brethren and to find other brethren to help fill those needs. It’s a little different than the ways things were in Acts, but still, I feel like this is a way to emulate their example.

    I say all of these things not to brag upon some idea that I had, because it’s really nothing new. I’m grateful that the Lord gave me the opportunity and the willingness to do whatever it takes and I know that if it were left up to me, I could drop the ball any minute. The reason I’m writing this is to let you know that your words are heard and that “effectual doing” is happening. Basically, it’s my hope that I’m encouraging you the ways your lessons encourage me.

    Love you brother!!!

  2. Terri

    Volunteering is God’s way of us showing love to others and His showing life and love to us… by blessing our hearts with the joy from it

  3. Pingback: Friday’s List to Live By #2 | ThePreachersWord

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