Friday, June 18, 2010

No Recognition

"In the discipline of service we learn to see who we are really serving: ourselves or others.  This discipline helps us uncover ungodly attitudes in our acts of service, such as a need to get recognition for what we do or a willingness to serve only if it's a big, glamorous event...

"In this discipline we can let go of needing a thank-you note or our name in the bulletin for things we do for others."
--Valerie Hess, "Spiritual Disciplines Devotional"

Many years ago, I was working with another youth group and we spent an entire summer focusing on Random Acts of Kindnesses.  We did all kinds of things for people without them knowing it - strangers, friends, families, each other - anyone we could think of.

We had a lot of fun coming up with ideas, and a ton of fun being sneaky about making them happen...

But we also had the let-down of not seeing the reactions, getting thank-yous, or hearing the stories of what people felt when they received their act of kindness...  It was a hard lesson in being a servant, without expecting a reward for our actions.

But it was totally worth it!  Eventually we did hear stories of people doing Random Acts of Kindness for other people - the ripple effect was happening...  Our community was benefitting from the time and energy our kids had put into serving others - and now the others were finding ways to serve MORE people! 

It was a new kind of feeling for many of us.  We were happy to see the joy spreading.  Proud to watch other people take ownership of their actions.  Excited to keep finding new ways to serve!  And all of it in the name of the love and grace of God.  Pretty amazing stuff when we can take ourself out of the equation and focus only on doing good in God's name!

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