Community service—because we want to

As my 8:00 a.m. alarm went off (or, more accurately, my three 8 a.m. alarms) this morning, I groaned and slammed the “off” button. I had community service orientation to look forward to. I got up, made a large cup of coffee, and hopped on my bike to make the short ride down to the Humane Society for 9:30 a.m. orientation. Signs were posted everywhere, leading those assigned community service down a long hallway and landing us in the pet shop lobby, right between the cat and dog kennels. A row of victims were already seated—I was ten minutes early. As I waited, I observed the smiling faces cleaning cat and dog cages and chatting amongst themselves as they waited for eager children and young couples excited to adopt a new pet. Every single worker, paid or unpaid, full time or volunteer, was clearly there because they loved it.

And I wondered, “is an assignment what it took to get me down here?” It made me think about service not only to our community, but to the people around us. As Christians, we are in the service of Christ, and, therefore, to the people surrounding us. I think that sometimes we seriously forget that, and, instead of serving because we want to, because we love Christ, we complain and drag our feet when we are assigned to do it. That is certainly not the heart of Christ.

The orientation leader explained how the Humane Society ran—solely on donations and grants—and emphasized how important it is to have dedicated volunteers and community service workers to help the organization run smoothly. In that moment, I realized that community service isn’t a pain after all—it’s something beautiful, and I am so blessed to be able to complete it at the animal shelter.

After all my complaining that I have to do this for a traffic ticket, I’ve realized that much more good will come out of it then bad. God is cultivating a servant’s heart in me, and I can hardly wait to begin on Friday!

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

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