THE JOY OF SERV­ING

Activated - - NEWS - By Uday Paul

For the last few years, I’ve vol­un­teered in a project teach­ing un­der­priv­i­leged young­sters. I was brought up in a typ­i­cal In­dian up­per-mid­dle-class fam­ily, and for most of my life, I’ve lived in an af­flu­ent neigh­bor­hood of the city where I was raised and have en­joyed a com­fort­able life­style. So it was bit of a cul­ture shock to set foot in the slums and ex­pe­ri­ence life on a to­tally dif­fer­ent level.

In In­dia, there’s a great con­trast be­tween af­flu­ent peo­ple who are welle­d­u­cated and have good man­ners, and the lower classes. It’s a chal­lenge to teach them good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, eti­quette, and val­ues, but it’s also given me a lot of ful­fill­ment and sat­is­fac­tion and helped me un­der­stand the mind­sets and heartcries of the peo­ple I once looked down upon. I can see that they’re ea­ger to im­prove their lives by their ea­ger­ness to learn. I also see by their quick progress that they have as much po­ten­tial as chil­dren from fam­i­lies who can af­ford to at­tend the best schools.

The Bi­ble tells us that good works done in the ser­vice of those who need it can be a wit­ness to the world and glo­rify God. Je­sus put a

1 lot of em­pha­sis on meet­ing peo­ple’s needs. He healed the sick, fed the hun­gry, wel­comed and com­forted the op­pressed, the marginal­ized, and those on the fringes of so­ci­ety. He saw great po­ten­tial in ev­ery­one. He looked at peo­ple with weak­nesses and told them that they were “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” Ev­ery­one, whether rich or

2 poor, is cre­ated in God’s im­age and is very pre­cious to Him.

Vol­un­teer­ing to serve, whether in an ed­u­ca­tional project for the un­der­priv­i­leged or in a neigh­bor­hood clean-up pro­gram, is a great way to min­is­ter to our com­mu­ni­ties. It gives us a chance to get to know peo­ple right where they are, un­der­stand their prob­lems and bur­dens, and build close re­la­tion­ships. When oth­ers see that it is Je­sus’ love that mo­ti­vates us to serve in this man­ner, it opens the door for a deeper wit­ness for Him. Je­sus said that He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ran­som for many. By min­is­ter­ing to the needs 3 of oth­ers, we re­flect the love of Je­sus, who min­is­tered to the whole per­son, phys­i­cal and spir­i­tual, and we glo­rify God.

Uday Paul lives in Ban­ga­lore, In­dia, and teaches English and Per­son­al­ity De­vel­op­ment cour­ses.

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