I remember the first mission trip I ever went on was as a middle school student to Monroe, Louisiana. I was part of a mission trip called “Youth Force.” There were a number of youth groups from across Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana that all came together to work on homes in the Monroe area, repairing roofs, siding, repainting, and other minor home-renovation projects.
My group was assigned to a house where we would be doing some repainting, rebuilding the crumbling steps into the house, and a few other minor projects. I remember thinking at the time that we had travelled all the way to Louisiana just to put some paint on a house, and I wasn’t sure we were really making that big of a difference. However, by the end of that week there was a noticeable difference in the spirit of the homeowner who had newfound pride in her home. But the bigger difference in the course of that week was my perspective. I went thinking I was just going on a fun vacation with my youth group friends and was unsure that we were really making a difference. I came back understanding the importance of serving others, being part of something bigger than myself, and the joy that comes from doing something selfless.
Sometimes in life we can get caught up in the rat race. It seems like every day is just about waking up, going to work, coming home to eat some dinner, and spending a little time with family before going to bed and starting over again the next day. All in the hope that someday we will move up the ladder of “success.” I can’t imagine this is the abundant life Jesus said He came to bring us.
If you want to experience new life today, I encourage you to follow the example of Jesus, who showed us the ultimate example of being selfless. Go serve someone else. Find a place where you can volunteer to help paint someone’s home and see how their demeanor changes. Serve at a place where you can feed the hungry and see what it does to their spirit. Volunteer at an after-school program where you can read with a child and see the joy that it brings them.
We serve others because it’s the right thing to do, but we find that in the process, it does something for our own soul. All of a sudden, we are no longer caught in a meaningless rat race. Our lives can have joy, purpose, and hope because our faith in Christ has led us to serve the needs of others and be part of something bigger than ourselves.
Rev. Josh Attaway, Edmond Campus Pastor