What does it mean to serve? When we hear the word service, we often think of charity work, volunteering, or making great sacrifices. For Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life we celebrated last week, it translated to devoting himself to a cause he believed in so strongly that it became the calling and purpose of his entire life and he ultimately gave that life for. Dr. King himself said that everyone has a call to greatness--not fame, but Greatness, that can be found through service. If we were to compare our efforts to his, we might easily come up short; but perhaps if we didn’t measure our own efforts by such a standard, instead using his as an example, we might feel inspired to offer ourselves in a way that is commensurate to who we are and what we are able to do, based on our circumstances and position.
A calling to serve has its roots in a desire to give, share or help; it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or something that is recognized on the news. As we wrap our arms around and hold the space for a friend who is grieving, we are serving. As we listen to someone’s struggle or disappointment without judgement or giving unsolicited advice, we are serving. As we assist with driving to doctor’s appointments, drop off meals, give hugs and hold hands with someone whose heart is breaking or cheer and encourage the accomplishments of those we care for, we are serving. The simple act of opening our hearts, putting that love into motion and letting it translate into action is service. Doing unto others. Dr King was a man of service, of calling, of Dharma. It was his faith that carried him, guided him, encouraged him, focused him. Through that service, fueled by devotion, he found meaning. So can we. What happens when we serve? We create connection. We deepen relationships. We cultivate compassion. By showing up, sharing our gifts, offering ourselves, doing unto others, we become a person of depth and in the process, character. We expand into our highest potential. When we give, we love, we help, we offer…no matter how big or small...we become Great.