“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
When I was in grade school my mom would make my sack lunch. While the meal itself was delicious my favorite things were the notes she would write to me and tuck in the sandwich bag. They were short notes that usually expressed her love, prayers, and encouragement for the day. One thing was always consistent about her note: at the bottom of each paper she wrote “J.O.Y.”
J.O.Y. was more than a three letter word in our family. It meant that we served Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself third and in doing that you would find joy in you life. There is something beautifully simple about this acronym because it calls us to think about life as service to others rather than simply self-serving.
Sometimes the service we offer is demanding, like when the youth group helped build a house in the Appalachian Mountains last summer. Sometimes the service we offer is thoughtfully small, like writing a note to our loved ones and tucking it in their bag for them to discover later in the day.
There are many different ways we can commitment to service that changes lives. That’s part of what it means to be Christian, we commit to serve those around us, both friend and stranger, and in doing so we find joy!