This past weekend (Friday – Monday), 27 people from our church, including 16 Jr. High and High School students, went to Regina to spend some time serving. We spent two days driving and two days working. We cleaned up an alley, we tore down an old garage, we pulled weeds from a community garden, we did yard work, and we sorted bottles to raise money for a good cause. It was a weekend of service, attempting to live out the call to be light in a broken world. I believe that what we did matters. I believe that people’s lives were positively impacted. But I also believe that the impact we had was only a taste of the impact that we can make by the way we live our daily lives.
Our first night in Regina we hopped into several vans and took a driving tour through “the hood” – the rough area of north central Regina where we would be serving. In my van the guide was a teenage girl who was a part of the Gentle Road youth group and lived in the rough areas. As we toured the neighborhood she told stories of the violence and gang activity that was so prevalent in the area. What struck me was that these weren’t just stories about something that happens on occasion or in some far off place. She was telling stories about her daily life, a reality which she must face continually. We would share part of her experience for a few days and bring light for a time, but her reality will continue long after we leave.
This recognition of her daily reality reminds me of Jesus’ call for the person who follows him to “deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23, ESV). Daily. Denying ourselves and serving others isn’t something we do every once in a while on a mission trip or through some big service project. It is something we do every day. In service to our families, our co-workers, those who are outcasts in our schools, our neighbors, and the poor living in our own city and neighborhoods. In a world that is constantly hurting and broken, God does not call us to be occasional servants. We are to be a continual source of light in the dark places.
One opportunity to participate in service is our Serve Day which is an annual event where we go and serve members of the Marlborough community. It may not include a road trip and a fun weekend spent with our friends, but the service that we do is very similar to what we did in Regina. And it is closer to home and has the potential to impact people that we will run into on a more regular basis – perhaps even daily. At the very least it brings us one step closer to understanding what it means to serve those close to us on a regular basis. So consider coming to serve with us on June 11, but don’t let it stop there. Find ways to serve in your own home, workplace, and neighborhood. And maybe leave a comment bellow to let us know – what does daily service look like for you in your context?
Note: If you want to see pictures of our teens serving in Regina, head on over to our Facebook page.