Service -- What is it?

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GeoFee

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I was asked by persons in the church about responding to pan handlers on the street. I told them they had two options. They could give or not give a bit of money. I went on to say that the key thing was making eye contact and having respect for the person asking.

I have walked the streets of diverse cities in Canada. Along those walks I have met many hundreds of persons. No matter what their appearance, I see a human being just like me. When opportunity for service arises I respond out of my own memory of being homeless. The many times strangers reached into my life with kindness. Those acts of kindness, over time, inspired and encouraged me.
 

Carolla

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I've been thinking about this, and reading the responses with interest. Being of service is a core value to me, I think learned from my family, church and community involvement. It is about making myself available to address and perhaps sometimes improve the life of the community around me. There are countless ways to be available, to engage, to contribute to community life in ways that honour the dignity of all people.

Personally, I rather chafe at the idea of "helping" others - it seems to me to sometimes speak more of 'charity' than of 'service'. Charity is, to me at least, more often about the doer being seen to be helping a person or cause they feel is somehow less fortunate than themselves; that somehow I might know better or be better than those being 'helped'. It satisfies the doer first, and not necessarily the recipient of the 'help'. I have certainly heard some 'helpers' comment with disdain that those they helped seemed unappreciative, and they found this annoying and perhaps affecting their future choice of 'helping' activities.
 

Luce NDs

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Would the least disadvantaged even know appreciation ... having nothing to appreciate and never learned about appreciation for anything?

Imagine mass depreciation for the sake of the economy! That should pump something up ... if only the bull and canaan ...
 

Northwind

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I like your distinction between service and charity @Carolla That's an important point. Charity disempowers the recipient. Service empowers ideally.

I reflected as I read your post. I grew up with a father who was a Scout leader. I went through the Guiding program, attended Sunday School and also became involved in groups that emphasized service in some way. It was the service that Carolla noted - making our community and world a better place. As members of a community, we were taught that we contribute to its wellbeing.
 

PilgrimsProgress

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I suppose my situation - living with a mental illness - has given me insight into service.
Most of the time now I'm fine -and in a position to be of service to others - but a depressive episode means that this reasonably self-sufficient, capable woman requires assistance from others.
Regardless of where the assistance is coming from - health professionals, friends, family, church congregation - I've learnt what works best for me.
Empathy, empathy, empathy........
Showing that you genuinely care for me and value me. Seeing me as someone going through a bad time -that in no way diminishes your liking and respect for me. In short, seeing me as of equal value to yourself.

There is nothing more soul destroying than being seen as "less than".......
 

Luce NDs

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I suppose my situation - living with a mental illness - has given me insight into service.
Most of the time now I'm fine -and in a position to be of service to others - but a depressive episode means that this reasonably self-sufficient, capable woman requires assistance from others.
Regardless of where the assistance is coming from - health professionals, friends, family, church congregation - I've learnt what works best for me.
Empathy, empathy, empathy........
Showing that you genuinely care for me and value me. Seeing me as someone going through a bad time -that in no way diminishes your liking and respect for me. In short, seeing me as of equal value to yourself.

There is nothing more soul destroying than being seen as "less than".......

Don't sweat it PP ... I'm told I'm crazy all the time as I process beyond the confined boches.

The world hates intelligence they don't know and strange thinkers ... imagine a guy from Galilee processing a life differently that a Roman Tic!

Which one really has Aspergers and has flown off the handle ... Axels?
 

Northwind

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But only if you are in need, any other reason would be insincere.

Asking for help can come in many forms. We all have needs of different degrees, so could find at least one legitimate reason to ask for help.
 

Luce NDs

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Could we ask for help in assisting the corruption in our sense of power is good?

What a dark and mysterious enigma ... leaving me to ask why people feel that the nothing word (И) is politically unacceptable ... and yet there is this devoid domain overhead in those in gross state of desire ... tis dark you should know bete!
 
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Carolla

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We might not always be 'in service' to other people in a direct way either. There's "Trash Walkin' Mom" in my neighbourhood, who makes regular excursions through the community to - you guessed it - pick up litter & trash others have left behind. Sometimes she posts on facebook - a photo of her 'haul' for the day usually. It's not to claim accolades, but more to raise awareness I think. Making our community better, by direct and indirect influence.
 

Carolla

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When I decide to put my faith into action, what are the kinds of things I could/should be doing?
I can't say what you could/should be doing - but I have no doubt you do answer this for yourself. I think these things also change over time, as we ourselves age, as our faith journey evolves, as our life experiences & hopefully wisdom accumulates.

I am soon heading off to The Compass - my usual Wednesday evening hangout. I'm involved with a knitting group there - sometimes giving instruction, sometimes just chatting & laughing, or commiserating, admiring photos of new babies etc with those present. Then I often stay for the Women's Group - dinner & an activity. It's a group of women who are perhaps socially isolated, marginalized for various reasons, some are 'clients' of the Compass (foodbank & social services) others who just come by for the all important sense of fellowship & belonging. I've been part of this group for about 15 months now - since retiring. I enjoy knowing these women who I might not otherwise meet. When anyone asks me or calls me "a leader" - I gently say "no - I'm a group member - just journeying along". That's how I see myself anyway. It feels more true to my Christian faith (a ministry of presence?) than what I often experience at Sunday 'church'. In fact, I suspect - sadly - that if these group members showed up for Sunday worship they would not particularly be embraced by those in the pews - despite their professed 'welcoming' stance. Just my observations.
 

revjohn

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"Whatever you do for the least of these my brothers and sisters you do for me."

This is what Jesus defines as Christian service.

Feeding the hungry.
Giving drink to the thirsty.
Visiting those sick and/or imprisoned.
Clothing the naked.
Welcoming strangers.

I don't expect that this represents an exhaustive list and yet, if we devoted more time to these pursuits I doubt that many would complain and find fault in our doing so.
 

Luce NDs

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"Whatever you do for the least of these my brothers and sisters you do for me."

This is what Jesus defines as Christian service.

Feeding the hungry.
Giving drink to the thirsty.
Visiting those sick and/or imprisoned.
Clothing the naked.
Welcoming strangers.

I don't expect that this represents an exhaustive list and yet, if we devoted more time to these pursuits I doubt that many would complain and find fault in our doing so.

What???? for that lo' life? That's insane in the winning circle ...
 

BetteTheRed

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Feeding the hungry.

Can we do better than food banks?

Giving drink to the thirsty.

Eliminate the bottled water epidemic.

Visiting those sick and/or imprisoned.

Visiting the sick gets complicated. Hospitals are into "zero night stays", in part because of serious concerns about MDR. LTC facilities are often under lockdown because of flu outbreaks.

Clothing the naked.

I think we need to condemn the fashion industry, who equates "clothing the naked" with a new wardrobe every year because trousers are a different length or width.

Welcoming strangers.

Agreed. Until/unless "welcome" is code for "be like us".
 

Nancy

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When I was 20 years old, I told a co-worker at a summer job, that my greatest desire would be to serve others. I thought then that I would love to be a waitress. That seemed to me to be such a direct way to 'serve' others back then! I have never been a waitress but I have served at a lot of church functions. My co-worker presented me with a hand drawn picture, with the caption "To serve with love". It helps me remember my goals, but also inspires me to continue to try to reach them. I have to admit though that I get a good feeling from helping others. I hope it is not because I put myself above anyone...It is an honest impulse. At a senior's home, I 'serve' by helping the congregation find a page number in their song books. It is a kind of service, but I feel it is mostly making a connection.
 

Pavlos Maros

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"Whatever you do for the least of these my brothers and sisters you do for me."

This is what Jesus defines as Christian service.

Feeding the hungry.
Giving drink to the thirsty.
Visiting those sick and/or imprisoned.
Clothing the naked.
Welcoming strangers.

I don't expect that this represents an exhaustive list and yet, if we devoted more time to these pursuits I doubt that many would complain and find fault in our doing so.
As long as you are there to do these things with no other agenda.
 

Waterfall

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Ok! But not for a trivial reason.
During my nursing course some of us had to spend a day in a wheel chair, some were blind folded others had to wear earplugs, and some were not allowed to speak....of course we all knew it was "staged" and temporary but it was still eye opening. The part that was missing was that our lives might be changed forever and a new way to move forward had begun. It wasn't " real" for sure.....but it did help some of us to empathize from a more profound understanding.
 
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