In his book The Four Loves C.S. Lewis says, “There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable”. After our unit on love I am convinced that there is a valid connection between love and living out that love through service. Loving those around you is about investing in them by any means possible. Our investment in this case is our time. Time is an investment that shows someone that you truly care. You are willing to set aside your activities and take a break in your busy schedule to do something that is for their benefit and not your own. Although I believe that somewhere along the line serving others becomes a greater benefit to the servant than to the one who is being served. Service teaches us to look beyond ourselves and beyond our sheltered lives to a community and world of people who are hurting and for whom we have the opportunity to serve as reflections of Christ’s love for them. That type of learning can’t be done in the classroom and that is why I feel it is an important aspect of our education at Gordon.
We read 1 Corinthians 13 in our Great Conversation class and some of the attributes that stood out to me is that love is supposed to be patient and kind and is not supposed to be arrogant. Those are all things that are so crucial when it comes to service and our service learning projects give us the chance to live out those aspects of love. If we look to a section earlier in the chapter we see even more about the importance of love in our actions. In verse 3 it says, “ If I give away all I have…but have not love, I gain nothing.” Our attitude towards our service should not be centered around the class or our grade but around love because if love is not our aim then none of what we do is truly worthwhile.
There are so many other reasons to participate in service that reach far beyond it being an investment in humanity or an expression of love, although those are both wonderful reasons to serve. I would say that the most important reason to serve is to become more like Christ. Our Lord humbled himself and came to Earth as a servant to his people to redeem them, minister to them, love them and serve them. Our Savior was the ultimate example of servant hood. In John chapter 13 we see the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. In this day it was the servants who were to wash the feet of their masters and their guests. This was not a pleasant or enjoyable task. You have to understand that the disciples and Jesus walked everywhere and all wore sandals, their feet at the end of their journey would have been covered in dust and dirt and yet there our Lord knelt providing us with the perfect guide for selflessness. He also tells us that in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we have done for him.
Providing an opportunity to teach love in a personal way that cannot be taught in the classroom and that extends to the people outside of our sheltered Gordon community is what our service-learning component is all about. It gives us the opportunity to be examples of Christ to those who don’t see or experience that type of love and service everyday. And I should hope that along the way each of us discovers the joy that can be found in the process of serving others.