The Rewards of Service

2014 Autism WalkA couple of weeks ago, the Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research held their annual Walk for Autism Awareness. This fantastic event draws people from all over Texas to celebrate the lives of those who are touched by Autism. I was there with Boy Scout Troop 157. Since 2010, we have supported this event by providing the muscle needed to set up, operate and take down a variety of areas. What began as one scout’s Eagle project has turned into an annual opportunity to serve.

Every year, I am surprised by the number of scouts and scout leaders who show up to help. After all, this isn’t an easy job. The Walk starts at 2 pm and ends at 4:00, but we start setting up at 10:00. We usually break the day into shifts, allowing the guys to choose when they want to serve. Typically though, almost everyone shows up at the beginning and stays until the end, giving up their Sunday of rest in exchange for manual labor and sunburn. And they’re happy to do it.

But why?

It seems there are a number of benefits to serving others. For instance, a great deal of research over the past 20 years reveals significant health benefits associated with serving. Studies show people who serve live longer, recover faster from chronic or serious illnesses, report fewer instances of depression, handle stress better and demonstrate stronger resistance to disease. Serving others keeps you healthy.

But I think it goes even deeper than that. Serving others addresses a deep need we all have to fulfill a higher sense of purpose. Humans are inherently selfish. But there’s a void that can only be filled when we shift from selfishness to selflessness. We need to give of ourselves to be fully satisfied with ourselves. Serving is good for the soul.

So whether you’re serving your community, your customer, or your coworker – keep in mind that you get what you give.

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