Service is possibly one of the most familiar of all the disciplines. Most people at some point in their lives have had the opportunity of serving in some way. Fewer have had the experience of service as a discipline. Service as a discipline is the intentional use of our time, abilities, or resources for the good of others.
Service may take place in a variety of settings and in a variety of ways, whether that is volunteering for a nonprofit, a school or in the local church. Many times our best service opportunities present themselves in the mundane, everyday occurrences. In fact, we see a key moment when Jesus displays his love for his disciples through service by washing their feet around a table in a home at the last supper. Similarly, we see the woman at the well serve Jesus by giving him water when he was thirsty. These moments were not extra time set aside in their schedule for "service." They were simply a recognition of an opportunity to do good for others around them.
Service is a habit that combats many unhealthy attitudes that are common, such as entitlement and pride. Dallas Willard, the professor and author of many books on spiritual formation, points out that service is an excellent way to "train myself away from arrogance, possessiveness, envy, resentment, or covetousness." In other words, many of our unhealthy attitudes are confronted and transformed by this simple habit.
Service as a discipline is the intentional use of our time, abilities, or resources for the good of others. Begin proactively think about how to serve those closest to you.
Many opportunities for service exist right in one's norms and networks. Think about ways that you could proactively serve your friends, neighbors and co-workers.
Pick an ongoing service opportunity through a local school, nonprofit or Midtown where you will be able to spend time with many of the same people consistently.
Many times the most impactful service opportunities come through unexpected and unplanned events. Try to leave margin in your schedule to respond to the needs of your friends, neighbors and co-workers as they arise.