Nathan Tanner

Day 2: Opportunities to Serve (30 Days of Gratitude)

This was a long week. I slept in today and looked forward to a lazy Saturday morning, but was quickly reminded that I committed to help a single mother from church move. My reaction wasn’t all positive. In fact, I viewed it as a burden—one more thing on my to-do list.

But it turned out to be just what I needed. She really needed the help and I enjoyed lending a hand. Several friends were there too and, despite the rain, we had a great time carrying boxes, dressers, and a piano into the moving van.

This experience reminded me of another opportunity to serve from several years ago. Unemployed for months, and frustrated by my inability to land a job, I came to the realization that constantly focusing on my needs and wants was only making the situation worse. I had been taught that the best way to forget my concerns was to focus on the needs of others. I started looking for ways to serve.

One Sunday morning I volunteered to coordinate parking for a large church meeting. Our church lot was fairly small, and my job was to direct cars to the various parking lots nearby. A heavy rainstorm struck shortly before the meeting and lasted for several hours. By the end of the meeting I was completely soaked, but I had never felt better. Serving others had a cleansing effect on my soul and eliminated the selfish cares that were holding me down.

I’ve learned that each time I do something kind for others, I felt better about myself. Service for me is kind of like the salad I eat for lunch each day. It may not initially look as appealing as, say, a cheeseburger and fries, but I always feel good after. I never regret the decision.

Want to feel better about yourself? Forget yourself and go do something kind for someone else.

I am grateful for opportunities to serve.