What Does Service Mean?

Since starting my Gilead year, I’ve had lots of people commend me on deciding to devote a year of my life to service. It seems like this mind boggling idea that young adults in their twenties would want to give back to their community. This idea scares and disappoints me. See in my mind, it has always been the young adults who have been on the forefront of social change. At 26, Martin Luther King Jr. led the Montgomery bus boycott. Young adults started the Egyptian riots earlier this year through social media. I feel a sense of apathy in my generation. A sense that what matters is what I have not what others do not. Becoming rich and successful is more important than helping others or building community.

My AP Government teacher once said that after high school every student should be required to do service for two years for the government. The service could include working in cities, state and national parks, community building, or volunteer work. They would live with other kids doing the same thing on very low stipends. At 20, one would then apply for college. At the time, I thought this was a crazy idea. Now I see what he was saying. Being able to stop learning and actually go out into the community. Work, eat, sleep, and live with people who are drastically different from you. I don’t think anyone could be apathetic if they took the time to really look around and love their neighbor.

So for me, this year the people I work with are doing a service to me just as much as I am doing a service to them. I am learning and growing in ways that cannot be quantified or calculated. I came to Baltimore to live into what I already feel God’s call is in my life. I hope to one day be only one of millions of young adults who are taking time to give back, truly listen, and follow God’s leading.

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, be with you always



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. zenobiaruth
    Oct 20, 2011 @ 22:01:58

    I love this. I think your teacher’s idea is excellent, not only would our country be in a better place but people would have a much better idea of who they were and what they wanted to do with their lives when they entered college.


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