It has been a few weeks since twenty of our church’s youth and young adults headed three hours north to a place called Matheson Island, but the memories are still fresh in my mind. Our purpose there was to run an overnight camp for approximately thirty kids from the island and nearby reserve.
The week was full of laughter, games, crafts, swimming, Bible time, singing, eating, some sleeping, and.....rain. While most people will have forgotten how much it rained, I remember it clearly because of what happened every time the wind began to blow and the drops began to fall. Our staff, youth and young adults alike, were constantly seen walking or running with just their t-shirts on because a kid was cold and wet a needed another layer. Everywhere I looked there were kids wearing rain jackets that hung down to their ankles or two kids wearing one sweater at the same time given up by one of our larger male staff.
I remember those moments because of the profound act of service they embodied.
Throughout the week our staff were constantly placed in the position of serving. Yet at the same time we were also being served. The community on Matheson Island, in particular many of the parents and grandparents of our campers, made us snack, brought us anything we had forgotten, gave us encouragements, helped serve meals, and gave up their own drinking water when the power went out and we were unable to get our own.
Without the help and service that was given to us, our week at camp would have been all but impossible.
So that brings me to a question that I would like to put out there.
Is service a two way street?
In other words, when we are engaging or preparing to engage in acts of service, should we be thinking ‘what can I do for you?’ or should we be thinking ‘what can we do for each other?'.
A couple of years ago I spent an afternoon at a daycare in South Africa just being with the kids. I vividly recall my time there where as I am positive those kids will have no recollection of me or my group. So I wonder who really was served that afternoon?
I would be interested in hearing from people who have perhaps had a bit more experience serving than I, what they think of this question “Is service a two way street?” What should be our mentality when we are preparing to serve? Any thoughts would be appreciated as I would love to enter into more dialogue on this blog.