This year the Shaker is asking people to think about what service is. We started by asking SALT staff to answer the question: what is service?

“What about the poor? Are we supposed to keep helping them until God does something?”

The foolishness of this question seems obvious on its face, but there is an underlying prayer that supports this perspective. Isaiah 64 and several Psalms (28, 25, 83) are prayers that God would somehow intervene in human affairs and bring justice and restoration.

It’s good to remember, when we are longing for God to take action to right some wrong that God’s taking action is at the center of the Christian faith. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the occasion of God “doing something.” That “something” is the restoration of the whole created order and the establishment of the rule and reign of God.

The restoration that Christ brings is both here and not yet here. It is full and complete in the resurrection of Jesus the way a run-away game is won in the first half. Yet it is not yet complete in that it hasn’t been fully realized. The final buzzer has yet to sound.

We live in this in between time. When we are at our best, the service we offer our neighbor will be allied with and empowered by the resurrection of Christ. It will be an anticipatory sign of the restoration that God has brought, is bringing and will bring.
–Pastor Jim

SALT staff

Service is the actions we take we recognize our shared humanity. Service is manifest in work dedicated to the spread of kindness and eradication of injustice.

Service creates the connection between people in all communities. Service has allowed me to connect with people and communities, and experience life from their point of view.
Service is giving your time to assist one or more people by means to better their life in some way.

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ― C.G. Jung
I like this quote because for me, service is about getting out and doing something. There’s no exact definition of what service is, but as long as you’re doing something to make the world a better place, whether it’s volunteering or just being kind to a stranger, than you’re serving. The biggest part about service is actually doing it- not just saying you will.

Service is caring about your neighbor in both tangible and non-tangible ways. Service does not only fix immediate needs of people, but examines why the world around us is in need of tangible acts of service. It is both a physical action and a roundtable discussion.

Service – voluntarily helping others to reach their full potential, and helping to create an environment in which that is possible.

To me, service is doing something for someone else out of the goodness or desire of your heart. Service is not something we can force people to do. As Douglas Adams said, “To give real service, you must add something which cannot be brought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” As Christians we are called to serve others and care for the less fortunate, and I think it is only when you accept and acknowledge this calling that you are truly serving. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”- Gandhi

Service can be explained in many different ways, but the definition that has stuck with me the most is when Dr. Nunes explained that in service you work with people, not for them, or at them, but with them.

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”’ –Mother Teresa

In the words of Dr. Elizabeth Lynn, Valparaiso University’s director of the Institute of Leadership and Service, “The world of service is full of people who are moved by different things.”

Service takes on a multitude of forms because of the beautiful truth that each individual is uniquely drawn by God to take action in this world. Your brother or sister, your neighbor or your best friend from high school, may be drawn to serve differently than you. He or she has a different set of abilities and opportunities, and that is one of the most amazing aspects of creation. For service comes alive when we first evaluate, with integrity, how we are going to act in this world based on our unique calls, and second, commit and dedicate ourselves to those actions. Ultimately this is an outpouring of God’s grace unto us, and we are called to be stewards of this grace and love.

So, I ask, what moves you?

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