At my internship yesterday, I was asked to take on a huge project. Did this involve extensive research, a fully thought out marketing plan, a strategy that would end hunger now and for all time? No. A new intern is coming in to join us next week and I was asked to clean out a cubicle that had not seen organization since possibly 2006 (yes, I checked the dates).
What does this have to do with hunger? Absolutely nothing. Yet I found God had a few things to teach me.
You see, I find that the theme of my life is service. My school is called the School of International Service and my career goals include such aspirations as foreign service, public health, and midwifery (as well as owning my own bar when I retire from all that adventure). I work as a waitress to bring in cash (causing my colleagues to joke about how I really do feed the hungry wherever I go). I also am constantly volunteering, whether at the pregnancy center where I serve as a receptionist or through various activities with friends. I say this not to boast, but to share why this would be crucial.
I find that it's the same with people at my university. We have a high amount of volunteers and a good portion of idealists whose aim is to go to the developing world and save the children. It's a wonderful attitude and I'm proud of the fact we have so many who help out their own communities as well as our neighbors abroad. However, one thing that gets lost in the idea of service is the act that makes it service in the first place.
If you cannot get on the ground and sort through trash, do mind numbing work for someone who would not have time, willingly perform a task that offers no pleasure and no visible reward, or work past your fears, anxieties and prejudices to carry out a greater good, you are not truly serving. If you cannot walk humbly and do everything, including the banal, boring, and thankless, but with the understanding that it is worth your while, you are not serving.
Service is supposed to make you humble. Not in the sense that you think less of yourself, but in the sense that you think of yourself less, that you don't consider yourself "too good" for anyone or anything. It's not that you are not confident or secure but rather, quite the opposite. You are confident and secure enough in who you are and where you stand in the scheme of things, that you don't need to make that known. You know that those things don't matter, that you can at least do for others what you'd hope and pray they'd do for you, when that time comes.
I never thought I'd be cleaning out cubicles and doing kitchen duty (something each department has to do) in an office. At the same time, I'm grateful. For I have no right to say that I am serving if I cannot serve in the most basic of ways. Sometimes, they're the ways that actually matter.