Service is sacred. Service is a holy thing — if it is offered cleanly. What does that mean?! When we offer service, are we offering it with open hands and no expectation of reciprocation or anticipation of garnering favor? Serving with expectations or guiding demands is not an act of love. It becomes a means of manipulation. The purest service is something we do without recognition or adulation — a good work. As my ex’s grandmother Hilda taught me, “a good work is a thing only you and God know you did.” It is true devotion, couched in the framework of Christianity but is equally found in all of the world’s great religious practices. Isn’t it comforting and wonderful to know that, at the core, it would seem that this teaching of the importance of love flows from the same source?
Not everyone is naturally predisposed to serve. Love comes in many capacities. While not everyone is gifted with the abundance of love to trek into war-torn countries or wade through malaria-infested swamps, we all possess the capacity to serve in even small ways. Can you listen to a friend talk about the troubles of their day? Pick up a piece of trash? Tie a child’s loose shoestring? Help a neighbor? Smile at a stranger? Or even express gratitude to your local drive-thru worker? Goodness is about ripples. What may seem insignificant to ourselves may be life-altering to the one who receives it. No matter how small a pebble, throw it into a pond, and it will cause ripples to expand in all directions. Go be a pebble.
Jonathan Cain is a native of Florence, Alabama, and has been the current Curator for the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art located in Tuscumbia, AL, since January 2020. He functioned in that role previously for several years before leaving to pursue a career in education. He holds an undergraduate degree in graphic design from the University of North Alabama and graduate degrees from both the University of Mississippi (MFA – Sculpture) and the University of North Alabama (MA – Clinical Mental Health). He is an eclectic artist who likes to pursue many different media.