The Experiment


The following are the rules and boundaries I established for my 2012 new year's resolution. I accomplished my goal, but my quest to learn the nature of a servant continues. 


Once a week for one year I will serve others less fortunate than myself.  
Why:
I am a Christian, which means I believe in Jesus Christ.  I believe in his words and his actions.  In Mark 10, Jesus tells James and John, “Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
In Philippians 2:7, Paul explains that Jesus, “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant”.
I know that I am not living up to my capabilities.  I do my job as a mother and wife.  I volunteer at the school and serve as a Girl Scout leader.  But when I read about the countless individuals who have made a tangible difference in our world, I don’t count myself among them.  I’m 41 years old.  It’s time to serve.
I’m too tired, too busy, too lazy, too (make any excuse here) to help more.  Yet I seem to find many hours to surf the internet or to stare mindlessly at the television.  I can call myself generous because money disappears from our checking account each month to support Compassion International and to World Vision.  We tithe regularly to our church.  But I never take the 15 minutes to write a letter to the children we sponsor and I rarely step out to help in my own community.
I am raising children that can shop for goats and chickens online to help others in a poorer country.  It makes them feel good for the afternoon, but the next morning they are clamoring for an iPhone, iTouch, iPad, or anything else beginning with an “i”.  They don’t see the impact of their online giving, and it certainly doesn’t make a difference in their everyday lives.  Where could they possibly have learned this behavior?  The apple doesn’t far fall from the tree.
Challenges:
I am my own worst enemy.  I will start with the best intentions, but the temptation to give up will be great.  
I suffer from mild depression.  This means some days I cannot bear the thought of leaving my house.  I will need to push through this in order to accomplish my goal.  
I don’t like it when things are uncomfortable.  Interviewing for a volunteer position?  Too time consuming.  Driving 20 miles to the other side of town?  I hate traffic.  Serving outside when it’s 30 degrees and pouring rain?  Just the thought makes me grouchy.  I need the drive and accountability to break out of my comfort zone if I will make a difference.
Accountability:

I will post a weekly blog entry sharing where I served and document my experiences.
I will be in constant prayer that my venture is not self-serving, but may inspire and motivate others to serve.
The Rules:
Beginning with the first week of 2012, I will help organizations or individuals that are less fortunate than me in wealth or health.
Each serving week starts on Sunday and ends the next Saturday.
I will blog weekly experiences by the end of each Saturday.
Outcome:
It is said that it takes 21 times of doing something before it becomes a habit.  If I can commit to serving 52 times in 2012, I hope that helping others becomes second nature.  Perhaps I will find a particular need that speaks to my heart and make helping with that need a focus in the years to come.  Above all, I hope to find the grace and mercy for others that God has unconditionally given me.