Saturday, April 15, 2000

A Call to Serve

I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)

Twenty nine years ago today I breathed my first breath on this earth. Little did I know then what my life would be like or what type of man I would become. Fortunately, from an early age my parents rooted a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ within me. I developed a quick sense of right and wrong, and I tried to live my life as Christ would want me to live it. However, too many times I came up woefully short. I was judgmental, envious, proud, and selfish - a far cry from the man I knew Christ wanted me to be.

In college, I got involved with a service organization that helped instill a desire within me to serve someone other than myself. I visited nursing homes, served at soup kitchens, and worked at shelters. One of the most fulfilling days of my life came when I was serving at a Christian shelter in New York City. During the day, I developed a close relationship with one of the guys at the shelter; we ate, worked, and went to an evening service together. After the service, one of the leaders of the shelter came up to him, and provided him with a polished pair of used shoes. I thought nothing of it, but my friend was overcome. I'll never forget the tears of joy welling up in his eyes as those shoes were placed in his hands. In his mind, the shoes weren't old and used, they were a gift; a treasured gift from God.

My life would never be the same. I went home that night and cried a good cry. I thanked the Lord for all the many blessings in my life that I had always taken for granted. I thanked Him for the opportunity to meet my friend at the shelter, and recognized the irony of being served by a man I started the day looking to serve. I offered a life of service to the Lord that night; I wanted to serve Him by serving others. I wanted others to know Him through me, whatever sacrifices that might mean.

I don't know what became of my friend at the shelter. I can only pray that all the struggles that brought him to that shelter are far behind him, and that his joy and love for God are as strong now as they were that day.