I’ve had this post in my drafts for almost a year now. I originally wrote this article for the monthly newsletter disseminated at the church I worked for. I left my position in June 2019 to start a new path in my career, but this moment I wrote about for the newsletter stuck with me.
Working for a church was an adventure all it’s own. I loved my job and I was deeply saddened to leave it behind, but it was time. What I didn’t quite comprehend when I starting working there was how serving would become an unwritten part of my job description. It took me by surprise, but I loved it. So when I found this article buried in my drafts, I thought that publishing it now just feels right. I realize I’m publishing it without much context of my unique experience of growing up in a church that I later would be employed by, but I’ll dive deeper into that at a later date.
10 Minutes of Service
On Tuesday, April 30 at approximately 11:59 am, I was typing an email on my computer. I watched the digital clock on my home screen tick closer to noon so I could complete the next task on my work to-do list: taking a photo of our Outreach Director, Candy, and one of our dedicated volunteers, Helen, as they served lunch to people in the breezeway, as they do whenever the calendar gives us a fifth Tuesday in the month. I gave the task about two minutes, tops. It was something easy to cross off, something to boost my sense of accomplishment for the day.
At 12:01 I left my office. As I made my way to the breezeway, I could see people crowded there in the short, outdoor hallway. Some were sitting and some were standing. They were all waiting. Candy and Helen finally appeared on Pratt Street, apologizing for running late. Helen left to retrieve the forgotten sandwich condiments from the Christian Life Center kitchen so I dropped my bag to the ground and asked what I could do to help.
I ran into the program office for a trash can, I ripped paper towels off a roll for use as napkins, I handed the people their sub sandwiches, bags of chips, and offered cookies from a plastic platter. Each person smiled as I greeted them, thanking us for the food. After the line ended, I remembered why I had been there in the first place: a photo. I took the photo with my phone, laughed with Candy, and left. I was there for about 10 minutes.
As I walked to my car, eager to start my lunch hour, I felt…different. In those 10 minutes, I felt more joy than I had in months. In those 10 minutes, I felt closer to God than the countless times I had bowed my head in prayer during staff meetings or before meals. I felt more Christian than I ever had sitting in a pew on Sunday mornings. I was amazed at how light my heart felt.
And that was only 10 minutes. Imagine what 30 would have felt like. If I had spent two hours packing groceries in the food pantry, four hours serving at The Caring Place, or a full day at the Jackson House. What would my heart feel like if I spent an entire week serving through Ozark Mission Project?
Service is more than handing people groceries. Service is being the hands of God. My 10 minutes of service is a drop in the bucket compared to the work of some of the people I work or worship with. But imagine, just imagine, what our church would be like, what Hot Springs would be like, if every one of you reading these words served as God’s hands for just 10 minutes a day. What if we amped that up to 30 minutes or an hour? What would our world look like?
For me it started with 10 minutes of service. What will you do with your 10 minutes?