I was representing a young man who is walking out of some trouble that he has gotten himself into and saw him today with a local pastor who had taken the young (in his 20’s) man into his family home and is mentoring him through a transition. Things are going well and I commended the pastor on his willingness to take another person who needed assistance into his home and life to the degree that he has. The pastor said to me that it was mutually beneficial because while he is helping the young man walk from one season of life into another, there are benefits to the experience that he and his wife are enjoying through knowing the man in need.
I remember when I was leading a group of volunteers at a youth prison and when we would get a prospective new volunteer mentor, invariably he would be blown away by how much they were effected by the time spent with the incarcerated youth. They would go on and on about how they got more out of than the kids did and how they wanted to come back. There is something about serving others that serves us at least as much.
That’s an interesting truth and dynamic; there is not a linear and static flow chart to blessings through serving others. When we reach out of our comfort zone to step into someone else’s trouble it will often be a little risky and uncomfortable. The interaction at a raw and real level which evades us so often in our suburban, corporate environments is refreshing in it’s perspective. For the time that we are serving, we are being intentional about making first things first and allowing our inherant desire to make a difference room to manifest. The resulting satisfaction is often overwhelming or surprising and always encouraging.
The lie that most of us fall for is that we don’t have much to offer. That’s just not true . . . nor is it true that we have enough to offer that we can fix all the problems of those that we serve. We have to walk into this kind of lifestyle with an understanding that we are simply funnels to allow Grace and Mercy to flow through us. The payback isn’t that we are recognized or that there is a fix to every problem the person(s) we seek to help has, but that we shared Life and therefore lived that day a little more than if we had chosen not to choose. When Grace, Mercy or anything else flows through us, then it is in us and part of us as least to the extent that we are the avenue of travel. Think of a garden hose . . . water flows through the hose, so the inside of the hose gets wet, too.