I Serve Because I Love Jesus10
by Baylor Pillow
"I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus."
This quote from Mother Teresa has been on my mind alot recently. As some of you may know, I am involved in the after school community service program at Baylor School. This entails me driving to a community center in south Chattanooga, tutoring a child from 4:00-5:00, and then coming back to school to get myself situated for the next day.
When I started service sophomore year, I will be honest, I really only signed up because it seemed that everyone else was doing that for winter term. Sophomore year's service was unfortunately unproductive for me. I did, however, have a great relationship with my child, who would grow out of the center after Christmas, leaving me to get assigned to a different child in the start of the second semester, and then be quickly removed from him as I resumed tennis for my sophomore spring term.
This year, my junior year, I was not sure if I even wanted to return to community service. After my previous experience was just me "going through the motions," I wondered if I would secretly start to dread it. Thankfully, that has not been the case. Who would have known that God could
use a five year old named Ka'marion to truly change the way I view the world. I will be honest, tutoring an energetic kindergartener that is just starting to read, write, and do arithmetic is not an easy job. Meanwhile, Ka'marion has taught me so much about patience, kindness, and privelege.
On the topic of how he taught (or better yet, is still teaching) me patience, I think it is fairly obvious: kindergarteners have a lot of energy and emotion. But on the topic of kindness, it has not been only Ka'marion that has taught me. Every child at the community center has taught me kindness. The day that I remember thinking about how much my thought patterns had changed was the day a random little girl, who is not a part of the kids tutoring program, asked me if I had two dollars. I remember initially starting to say "no," and then realized that yes, I knew that I did have two dollars and it had been sitting in my wallet, doing nothing, for about a week. So, I took it out and gave it to her. I know I did not save her life or anything, but it got me thinking about how quick we are to deny people any sort of help.
That is where Baylor Community Service has taught me about privelege. I am so fortunate to have been raised in the family that I am a part of and to be a student at this school that I love so much. But, if I am not using priveleges that I have been given, what good am I doing here? We have to do what we can to help others. It is a shocking reality to know that you are in a community center with kids that may not eat again until the next day when you bring them that Snickers or bag of Taki's, and that is just what the reality of service is. When the child with one hand in the computer lab is sitting at his desk complaining about being hungry and he leans over and whispers, "Will you bring me some hot Cheetos on Monday?" our first instinct should not be to think "Well, if I do it this once, I may end up getting asked all the time." That is where God screams at us "Who cares?" If I cannot get an extra $1.57 added to my total at Walmart as I am buying stuff for myself anyway, how can I be expected to ever help anyone in a "bigger" way in the future?
God teaches us to love everyone, and that means shutting down other people's hate. Seeing kids that deal with racism and oppression on a daily basis inspires me to call out that racist or sexist comment I hear as I am walking downtown or eating out with friends. As Matthew 25:35-36 says,
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.
I thank God for giving me Baylor School to open my eyes to the many different qualities of life here in our own communities, as well as giving me a heart that is empathetic. I also thank God for Ka'marion, who teaches me so much, and shows me how to see the Jesus that is in every person.