I’ve spent my career serving people. During college, I worked in customer service for a retail store and also for the church, leading mission trips. After college, I worked for a non-profit for a few years that does community development, and now I work for a university, in a center that mobilizes students to serve. People have complimented me over these years for doing great work, because I handled customers well, or went overseas, or did non-profit stuff. To be honest, receiving the compliments never felt right. Inside I was thinking, “Thank you, but I don’t do it for the recognition, and I actually don’t think my job is any more important than yours. And furthermore, you have a bazillion opportunities everyday to serve people. You don’t need a ‘service-type’ job to be a servant.”
If in any way your life or job touches people or creation, you can serve. Insight: That’s you.
Growing up, I was a competitor. I wanted to be the best, at everything, and I tried hard. In the classroom, on the court, socially, I wanted to be number one. After grade school, I lived for myself; to serve me. I did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and tried to stand out; indulging the flesh, as much as possible. My life was about me, and if I’m honest, I didn’t care much for others. I was not in a rhythm of serving…
… and then the humbling began.
A couple years into college, I broke my foot, and could no longer play sports. After a few months, it healed, and then I broke it again, a few days later. Sometime the following year, I engaged in church, and through a few trips and new friends, my selfish and self-indulgent nature was revealed in plain sight and I was crushed. I felt shame, embarrassed, rebellious, and angry. I wanted to hide. At the same time, by the grace of God, I started dating my now wife who has always held me to a higher standard of character, which at the time, was tough. So, in and through all of these things, God began to work on me.
Only by God’s grace was I able to complete graduate school, work for the non-profit, and get married. During this time God was working on my character, and uncovering a passion for serving people as a way of life. If we look to Jesus, he didn’t serve people because that was his job. He did it out of Love; who He was and is. I believe if we truly love God and love others, then we are servants. It should flow naturally; to put others before ourselves; look to their interests before ours; humble ourselves; give generously; and so much more. You don’t need a service-type job to be a servant. You can find creative ways everyday to bless others, it just requires slowing down, being thoughtful, and active.
God gave me a few scriptures during the tough years I described that have humbled me and fueled a passion for service, a passion that still burns today. I hope they will sit well with you.
"Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
"The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."
To get into a rhythm requires slowing down, and engaging your mind, body, and soul. Your heart needs to be in it. You have to believe that what you are striving to do is truly good; for you, others, and creation. To be rhythmic is to be in-tune, free flowing, and purposeful. It is visible. People notice. How you approach your mornings, move throughout the day, and spend your nights, is an expression of your rhythm. The world is thirsty for people of a beautiful and loving rhythm, who serve because that’s who they are. Let’s be those people; people of rhythm who change the world through creative, loving service.
Examples of ways to serve others and creation throughout the day:
- Send a text of encouragement to a friend.
- Pick up random trash and throw it away (the dirtier the better).
- Compliment someone on their character.
- Sit with a lonely person during lunch.
- Pray for your colleagues in the morning.
- Leave a kind note for a professor or boss.
- Open a door for a person.
- Help someone with their groceries or heavy stuff.
- Keep your head up, make eye contact with people and share a greeting.
- Call someone and apologize, and share your love for them.
- Serve on a weekend with kids, the elderly, or at beach or river cleanup.
- Invite your neighbors over for a meal.
- Pick up a younger persons tab; or a young family’s.
- Go above and beyond to help someone at work.
- Slow down so a car can move into your lane.
- Be creative! Be aware! Look to others before yourself.
INSTAGRAM & TWITTER: @JMFIELDSON
Josh is a thoughtful and passionate leader. Currently, he is serving with Azusa Pacific University as the Assistant Director for Mobilization, where he leads marketing, educational programming, and on-going research and assessment for the Center for Student Action. Josh resides in Long Beach, California with his wife Stephanie of two years, where they enjoy outdoor adventures and the eclectic mix of cultures. In 2012, Josh earned his Master's in Public Health from Long Beach State University and just started his Master of Arts in Leadership at Azusa Pacific University.