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May 2, 2017, 12:00 AM

Reaching Out with Service

Albert Schweitzer is one of my heroes. He was born in 1875 and lived until 1965. He was a Christian theologian who midway through his life went back to school and became a medical doctor so he could help people in Africa. He and his wife spent the remainder of their lives in Lambarene (now Gabon) in central Africa. There they founded a hospital and served the needs of the poor.

Here is something Dr. Schweitzer wrote in a book called Your Second Job:

"No matter how busy one is, any human being can assert his personality by seizing every opportunity for spiritual activity. How? By his second job: by means of personal action, on however small a scale, for the good of his fellow men. He will not have to look far for opportunities. Our greatest mistake, as individuals, is that we walk throughout life with closed eyes and do not notice our chances. As soon as we open our eyes and deliberately search we see many who need help, not in big things but in the littlest things. Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him."

I am encouraged and inspired by a man who did great things to serve the neediest people. His recommendation is simple. Do something for someone else. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big thing or a little thing. Our lives are immeasurably enriched when we go outside ourselves and help another person. That’s what we mean by “service”, and it is central to the message of Jesus.


  • “ 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.” Mark 10:42 - 45 (NIV)
  • “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42 (NIV)
  • “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
  • “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Matthew 10:29 (NIV)
  • “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.” Philippians 2:3 - 4 (NIV)
  • “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 (NIV)

Why is it that service is so important? Well, it is most definitely rewarding. Service is fun. Service can make a difference in many people's lives. Service gives us a sense of purpose and pride. When we put other's needs before ours, and stop focusing on the, "What do I get out of it,"  mentality, but instead on the, "What can I do for others" we participate in God’s work in our lives and in our world.

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