IS 1:10, 16-20
PS 50:8-9, 16 BC-17, 21 AND 23
MT 23: 1-12
Why I Serve
“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11-12). Although, these are the words of Jesus Christ, I first heard a very similar message from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA on February 4, 1968. King stated, “If you want to be important, wonderful. If you want to be recognized, wonderful. If you want to be great, wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's the new definition of greatness…by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”
I entered the field of higher education as a service leader, working in Allegheny College’s Office of Community Service and Service Learning. Leaving that office taught me that we are all called to serve, whether it’s in our job title or not. God has blessed us with many gifts and talents. Sharing them with others is an act of humility that enables us to exhibit greatness.
Service is not exhibited through what a person says; it’s expressed through what a person does. We all can fall victim to hypocrisy—allowing our words and values to contradict our behaviors. In the scripture, Jesus says “For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them” (Matthew 23: 3-4). God calls us to speak words and claim values that we are willing and able to put to practice.
I’ve often asked myself the following question: Why do you do what you do? Are your works only “performed to be seen” (Matthew 23:5) or do you have a greater purpose? For me, it’s the latter. Service has always been a passion of mine. Wherever I go, it gently tugs at my spirit. Being of service is a constant reminder that I am here for reasons much larger than myself. I am called to honor those who have come before me and blaze a trail for those who will come after. This is my why. When I get weary, I have to remind myself of this why. At times I find a mirror and say something along the lines of, “I do it for those who are no longer here, who are far better and more worthy than me, those who are no longer able to exhibit their greatness to the world. When I have reached my limit I am carried by them. At times I may look lonely, but I'm not alone. I will not be defeated because I am connected to something much greater than myself. I will never quit because there’s always something/someone to fight for.” With this as my why and God as my how, I am unstoppable.
Willie Gore is the Residence Hall Coordinator for Fusz Hall.