Inspiration: Happily In Service…

“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35

Inspiration: Happily In Service…

Inspiration: Happily In Service…

Recently, I connected with a group of bloggers committed to addressing issues of poverty in a compassionate way. Each month, a topic is shared  to write on and contemplate. This month, the topic is about Service and the questions: Which bible verse guides you to serve others? What led you to become a Compassion Blogger?

I grew up a Catholic home and from an early age, I was made aware, first by my parents and then by the nuns in school, that service to others and the sharing of alms were an important part of being a Christian.  My parents were always participating in fund raisers and giving donations to help distant relatives and other people in need. I remember that we often had guests at home who came specifically to thank my dad for helping them in some fashion. They thanked him profusely, singing praises in his name and showering us with blessings. So the idea of service was inculcated in me quite early and remains a vital part of my life. I remain happily in service to the groups I support by regularly volunteering time and skills.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

Inspiration: Happily In Service… Compassion bloggers serving in Tanzania

Inspiration: Happily In Service… Compassion bloggers serving in Tanzania

My family came from a culture that believed in the value of helping extended family members and sharing our largess with gratitude. It also meant tithing at church and volunteering. The nuns at school were always saying “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and in time, it became a favorite verse of mine. The other verses I’ve shared here resonated with me because they are reminders that we all have gifts and skills that we can use to help uplift others.

In school and in catechism, we learned that charity and service were requirements for being a good person of faith, and we read stories that reinforced the message.  Our daily prayers included portions on serving the poor, and when possible, The Story of the Good Samaritan was read and explained over and over again. Looking back on the experiences of my childhood, it makes sense that being a compassionate blogger would appeal to me.

One major event in my life that solidified the importance of service for me was the civil war. The war forced us to flee the city and appreciate the time spent in my father’s village during the Nigeria-Biafra war. Dad’s village was deep in the interior part of the countryside and this meant that many displaced families ended up there. It was their last stop as refugees and, by the time they reached us, most were destitute and quite distraught. Because the wartime struggles affected many families, everyone had to learn to share limited resources.  Being able to serve gave us a sense of purpose and people readily shared their crops and their homes. Being hospitable to the refugees around us led to life long friendships that continued long after the war ended. More below!

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

Inspiration: Happily In Service…

Inspiration: Happily In Service…

Like any typical teenager, I went through a rebellious phase in high school, and found myself rejecting the teachings and dictates of Catholicism. At the same time, I started exploring Eastern religions and philosophy which piqued my interest in yoga and meditation. Even though I wasn’t attending services, I read widely and my interest in exploring other faiths grew. Coming to the USA opened another chapter in my spiritual  growth; I embraced yoga and meditation with enthusiasm. Perhaps because I was a foreigner alone, people were eager to help me find my way, and I made many new friends with others who were on a spiritual journey. I believe God got my attention during that phase because  I needed a lot of grace to adjust to a new world, enroll in college and make new friends.

How did God get your attention? Ironically, some of my toughest times in the US, were also times when I felt the palpable presence of the divine.  I found that a simple solution to handling frustrating moments was to turn my attention to volunteer work and serve.  When we stop worrying or pause in our time of pain to help others, we experience a subtle shift in our struggle. Living happily and serving happily are complimentary; one aids the other. What about you?

This post was partly inspired by Compassion.com: Which Bible Verse Prompts and Guides You to Serve Others?  And Daily Post Prompt: Daily Prompt: Happily Ever After “And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there?

*Please bear with me as I’m finally beginning to catch up on your blogs and commenting… I’m back on track; albeit at a slow pace. Thank you all for your patience! :-)

Positive Motivation Tip: If we serve with a joyful heart, our joy becomes a blessing to others. Spread the light.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All photos Server, via Wikipedia, Compassion bloggersCompassion bag, via Flickr or my personal collection

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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26 responses to “Inspiration: Happily In Service…

  1. The first poster has been my motto on blog4peace. Words are not enough, act on it. By the grace of God, there go I.

  2. What a beautiful story of your own life in service, Eliz. War-time experiences, moving to a whole new country and establishing an entirely new life, all had to be amazingly difficult, yet you express so beautifully how God met you in that, gave you new eyes to see, and then, as my friend has always said, “God doesn’t waste anything,” and here you are today valuing the role of service in keeping you grounded both personally and in your faith. I have known from the first time I read one of your posts that you had a special way of living, Elizabeth, but this really touched me!

    • Debra, TY for your kind words and patience. I’m a student of life and work on my shortcomings through introspection and writing. Like all, I have my struggles and work hard to overcome them. Thank you for your friendship. I will catch up soon.
      Eliz

  3. You’ve had quite an interesting life Elizabeth. My spiritual journey greatly parallels yours. But, it’s fluid and keeps moving forward.
    b

  4. Wonderful Post Thank you for sharing.

  5. Great post – as usual… :-)

    For helping others then we need to have the mental surplus ourselves
    - so we must also take care to flourish ourselves… :-)

  6. I have long thought that you embody what being a Christian really means. This post proves it :)

    I thought you were British but if you are, then the civil war you mention dates you at about 450 years old :)

    Is it okay to ask where you are from?

    • Hi Tilly! TY for your patience… I had a good laugh reading your comment. Yes, I have a Christian foundation but started exploring Eastern religions and philosophy at 15. I still love my faith, but my connection to it is through a universal, inclusive lens.
      Yes to both of your observations. Even though I wasn’t born in Nigeria, we moved back there when I was young and got caught in the war (it ended in 1970); not the Civil War in the USA. I returned to the UK for high school and came to the USA for college. I’m an international nomad residing in the USA. ;-)
      TY!
      Eliz

  7. Beautiful and touching post Eliz. Where were you born? I am interested in learning more about your childhood! I can’t imagine fleeing a war. It must have been very painful.

    • Hi Nicole, Thank you for your kind words. The UK. I’ve written quite a bit about the war, and it was a mixed blessing/curse of sorts. War zones are never forgotten and the memories are mixed. TY! :-)
      Eliz

  8. Hi Eliz,
    Thank you for sharing more about your upbringing–happy and also a time of upheaval, war, and moving to a new country. But your faith brought you through the other side. One of my favorite verses and one I try to follow is: “Whatever you do in life, work at it with all your heart, not to please others, but to please God.” Col: 3:23.

    • TY Tracy! I love that verse too. Sometimes I wonder what it all means and then an angel in human form reminds me to stay faithful and trust the process. TY!
      Eliz

  9. Allyson Mellone

    Eliz, thank you for sharing a part of your life. Your love of family, community, and of others have really made me feel hopeful. As always, your writing is beautifully done!

  10. beautifully written..and poignant.

  11. Pingback: Hello world! | Mirth and Motivation

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