Before I share this paper, I want to acknowledge that all Christians are called to serve others. Since I am a Catholic, I wrote it in a Catholic viewpoint, but serving others is applicable to all Christian denominations.
Most people call it ‘volunteering’. I like to call it ‘serving others’.
Being a Catholic, serving others is deeply rooted in my faith, and something my parents always taught me. I’ve spent countless hours in the past couple years just volunteering my time for absolutely no other reason than to live out my faith and bring a smile to people’s faces.
While there are many reasons why a person may serve others, there are some extra reasons why a Catholic (or Christian,) may volunteer.
Firstly, Christians strive to be like Jesus, and see Him in other people. Since He spent His life serving others and seeing His Father in each of them, we want to imitate Jesus’ approach.
Secondly, the Church teaches the Corporal Works of Mercy; something that anyone, especially missionaries, should keep in mind and act upon if possible.
Lastly, the Second Vatican Council teaches that faith without works is dead, just as you can’t have works without faith. Jesus’ example shows that these 2 elements are inseparable from each other.
A couple years ago at Mass, the presiding priest, gave a homily about generosity that really hit home. The part that stood out for me though, was when he said people tend to think generosity means giving money. He stated, “Generosity can be a donation of your time, or just a smile… or any other kind gesture.”
I loved that, because I have made this my mission for life, but especially that year.
While his statement really spoke to me in particular, in a broader sense, it’s what all Catholics are called to do.
One thing I have noticed though, is that attitude is everything. Throughout my life, for example, I have seen many caretakers of elderly or disabled people. What makes me sad though, is that I am noticing more often that sometimes, some caretakers have a bad attitude in their work, or regarding the needs of the one they are caring for. I understand that sometimes it can be trying. But if you have a bad attitude, you can make that person feel unloved, and like a burden. That can be upsetting and hurtful to many, all the way around.
So, when serving others, be compassionate; it’s not their fault they can’t take care of themselves. Be patient, and they will feel cared for. Have an upbeat attitude and you will brighten their day. Of course, serving others is not limited to the elderly or disabled. Kids, animals, and the environment could also use some care.
My favorite hymn is called ‘The Servant Song’ by Richard Gillard. I remember the first time I really heard it, I was 13 years old. It was then that I really understood it’s significance, and the message conveyed. My favorite verse says,
“I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow,
’til we’ve seen this journey through.”
I try to do just that with everyone I meet.
We may not be able to change the world, but by serving others, we can change a life.
– Alexis Grace