This week my daughter has joined several hundred teenagers from among Oklahoma City area Church of Christ congregations to participate in an event called “Serve OKC.” Each day groups of teens scatter throughout the OKC metro to serve others in the name of Jesus through various community service organizations, such as Feed The Children, Angels Foster Family Network, The Refuge, and Boys & Girls Club. I have enjoyed hearing my daughter talk about what she’s done each day and who she’s met. Through her stories I’ve observed the following effects of service in her life:
- Rewarding experiences. At the end of each day, my daughter is exhausted but also excited. The experience of serving has made her feel good about herself and made her feel that she has done something to truly help another person. Serving others has also given her the experience of making a positive contribution in society.
- Real-world education. Serving has opened my daughter’s eyes to the challenges of homelessness, hunger, foster care, etc. that exist within our society. It has also given her the opportunity to learn about the wonderful community service organizations that exist to help people overcome these challenges. This education has broadened her perspective of the world and helped her develop the skill to connect with others whose life experience is different from her own.
- Spiritual energy. My daughter has been spiritually energized by this service project because she is doing what God created her to do. First Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” God created us to be conduits of his grace, so when we serve others our actions are aligned with our purpose. This is why my daughter is coming home tired yet energized!
I am really proud of my daughter and all of the teenagers who are doing “Serve OKC.” Whether they realize it or not, these teens are setting a great example for the rest of us to follow. If we approached each day with a mindset to serve, then more of our days would be filled with rewarding experiences, learning opportunities, and spiritual energy. If we intentionally looked for ways to serve others, we would find ourselves bridging divides, connecting with others in meaningful ways, and healing the wounds we inflict on each other.
So, who can you serve today?