I have been privileged to be a member of the Blue Bell Rotary for the past 15 years, and the title of this article, “Service Above Self,” is the mission of the Rotary. Our Rotary is made up of men and women of different faiths, as well as different ethnicities. I have had the awesome opportunity to serve as one of its presidents.
Our mission is part of a world-wide charitable club, both nationally and internationally, whose goal is to meet basic human needs. The thrust over the years is to eradicate polio, and the purification of water and sanitary needs in Haiti and throughout the world. The Rotary Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to worldwide hunger, and as a result of their efforts, life has been made better for countless people, particularly in areas where poverty has hampered the lives of so many. The Blue Bell Rotary has contributed to a number of needs in our community, providing mentoring to children, scholarships to students, and responding to tragedies and disasters.
One of the remarkable things I have discovered about the Rotary, even though it is not a religious group, is that they are guided by so many God-given principles. I would argue strongly that sometimes those Godly principles are not seen in the body of Christ. We live in a society where it’s all about me; or, what can the church do for me? In many cases we have forgotten about the least, the lost and the lonely. Do we really put service above self? Do we see humanity in motion by the things we do? The Bible says, “Faith without works is dead”. Our faith must be put into action so we can be conduits for Christ, serving others as he serves us. One who follows the Lord must make a full surrender and place service above self. The Gospel of Mark 8:34 reads, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”. If we are going to follow the Master, we have to move self out of the way. To be a cross-bearer one must also be willing to carry the cross for others.
I have gained so much from being a Rotarian; no, it has not saved me, but it has helped me to have empathy and compassion for others. It has opened my heart to the countless needs of people of all walks of life, and provided an opportunity for those of us who know God to share his love. It has deepened my appreciation for the blessings of life God has granted me, and has opened my eyes to the need to seek to be more like Jesus in his love and care for people. Many of the efforts in our church focus on our concern for others; our orphanage in Kenya, the adoption of the Kinsey School in Philadelphia, our food pantry, housing the homeless, the sickle cell initiative at Children’s Hospital, and supporting cancer patients and families with Praise Is The Cure; all come out of the Word of God, which in many ways is the foundation of the Rotary.
I have a motto on my desk which reads, “It doesn’t matter how much you have, but how much you have shared with others.” It is my fervent prayer that along with the various ministries in your church, you are actively working and giving to some of the many outstanding charities that seek to lift up people.
In this Thanksgiving season, let us seek to share our resources with others. Many families are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and will not have an opportunity to have Thanksgiving dinner with their families. Let us remember them with our prayers and financial resources. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and remember to love God and serve people.