"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." Galatians 5:13
At Heritage Oak School, that’s what’s being taught. While some kids may groan at the thought of community service, we students cheer at the thought. Service days are the days we look forward to at the school. We often have the option of sitting out on a service project or indulging ourselves in it. And I can tell you, not once have I seen anyone sit a service project out. Through the service I have done on behalf of Heritage Oak School, I have learned five things.
1. With Service Comes Joy
You’ll often see pictures of our students on service trips with big grins on their faces, looking like they’re having the time of their life. That’s because they are. No matter what we’re doing, we always find the fun in serving others. We spread the joy to others in hopes that people will see what an influence a Christian school has made upon our character— and most of the time, the distribution of the joy in unintentional. The community and fellowship that everyone has with one another leaves everyone who interacts with our service groups feel like they’re part of an important family. And they are. They’re part of God’s family.
2. With Service Comes Love
While joy is evident in our service groups, love is seen almost as often. Love flourishes with godly character, and students performing acts of service builds said godly character. We reflect the actions of Jesus when we serve others, and we all know how much Jesus loved us. He is the embodiment of Love. He loved us before we ever even set a ponder about loving Him. He loved us before we were even existing on this earth. Through service, we reflect that love that Jesus has bestowed upon us.
3. With Service Comes Compassion
Service may be fun, but the reason we need to do it is due to rough circumstances for others. We’re taught about tragedy, loss, and need whenever we’re sent out for service projects. Through that, we grow compassion for others.
4. With Service Comes Humility
When you’re out serving others in need, you really see how much God has provided for you. I, personally, was very humbled after our trip down to the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center to pack shoeboxes for children in the Philippines. Just knowing that these toys were going to totally impact their lives, whereas a child in America would hardly give them a second glance, boggled my mind. I couldn’t even imagine how hard it would be to have faith in God in their situation. That was why we were packing the shoeboxes, to expand the faith of God’s children, giving them hope of God’s love.
5. With Service Comes Peace
Once you take note of your humility, you can find peace with the Lord. After all of the service projects done with my school this past year, I have noticed that everyone seems to be at peace by the end of the night. God has worked with and through us in these acts of service. And I can speak personally that it feels amazing. Knowing that you’ve served God and others in an unselfish manner leaves you feeling at peace spiritually. It’s that spiritual satisfaction that constantly brings me back to doing service for others.
After praying about the service I had done in my first semester at Heritage Oak School, I thought of James and how he was a bondservant of Christ. I thought of myself the same way. I was there to do God’s bidding whenever He needed me. Service was just another aspect of me fulfilling God’s will, and so I will continue to do it humbly in love.
Editor's Note: I hope you enjoyed this student perspective from Ellie Phillips, a seventh grader at Heritage Oak School. Packing shoeboxes at the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center and bell ringing for the Salvation Army are a couple of the service projects she and her classmates have participated in.