It was 125 in the sun and 109 in the shade. Not the hottest day in Vegas but it was up there on anybody’s scale. Out in the sun we worked making sure to drink plenty of water and put on plenty of sun-screen. It was not easy work either and the sweat poured off our bodies almost as fast as we could down the Gatorade to counteract it. Some worked inside painting where it was never quite air conditioned. Others worked cleaning rooms where the homeless slept for a night sharing a bunk with all of their worldly possessions. Still others sat down and played games with homeless kids who lived in a dorm setting with their moms for the night and roamed the city in the heat looking for a job during the day.
It all was hard work, inconvenient traveling through traffic to get there, and a crazy drive to get home to take a shower afterwards. We had done our duty. We had fulfilled a mission. We had served others and gave them what they wanted. We had a new check mark on the omniscient’s score sheet. Now we could move on with our own lives concentrating on just our needs and wants.
But we were lying to ourselves. Serving is NOT for those who are being served; serving is for those who serve. It is a self-delusion to think that service is for the one served. NO ONE who serves others will NOT BE CHANGED in some small (or large) way. That is a double negative, so let me say it in a positive way. EVERYONE who serves others WILL BE CHANGED! You cannot avoid it, you cannot forget it.
Some will be changed in a small way where they, just for a time, get out of their selfish lives and feel what it is like to have a taste of God’s plan for their lives. Once back in their world they will fall back into the selfish ways they are used to but there will be a memory of God’s plan in the back room of their mind to be pulled off the shelf later. Some will understand what they did was not just for the people but it made them feel great afterwards and they will wonder why. They will seek that feeling again, again, and again and they will find their lives changed.
A few of us will truly understand. A few of us will realize that God’s plan for our lives is not a profession (you can serve no matter what your job); God’s plan is not a skill to acquire (you can serve if you are amazingly talented or if you have trouble tying your shoes); and God’s plan is not a destination you can arrive at. God’s plan for your life is a process and that process is activated/implemented by service.
You want to know God’s plan for your life? Start serving, keep serving, and then serve some more. You will not only find God’s plan for your life you will be smack-dab in the middle of it.