Yesterday (08/10/2013), several scouts from our troop helped our friend and fellow scout, Jason A. with his Eagle Scout Service Project.
Jason, a member of Troop 777, is helping bible camp Shiloh by constructing a prayer and meditation area. The project started several weeks ago by clearing the vegetation in front of a trio of symbolic crosses. Installation of a short retaining wall enabled the first construction crew to create a level platform.
Our crew, during the second work day was to finish leveling the platform, installing quick pack gravel and a finish layer of sand. Moving ahead of schedule, we were able to install a pallet load of paver bricks.
Service work for scouts should be like breathing fresh air at a mountain top — a wonderful, desired exercise that is a natural part of the program.
The 1911 BSA Handbook reminds us of this with statements like:
A scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others
And then the final and chief test of the scout is the doing of a good turn to somebody every day, quietly and without boasting. This is the proof of the scout. It is practical religion, and a boy honors God best when he helps others most.
A boy may wear all the scout uniforms made, all the scout badges ever manufactured, know all the woodcraft, campcraft, scoutcraft and other activities of boy scouts, and yet never be a real boy scout. To be a real boy scout means the doing of a good turn every day with the proper motive and if this be done, the boy has a right to be classed with the great scouts that have been of such service to their country.
Many people through history have had a lot to say on the value of service to others, too:
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley (1703-1791)
“Everyone can be great because anyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t even have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve… You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love…” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968)
“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968)
This last quote reminds us that the ultimate goal of service is to discipline our own hearts into looking at life differently — to shift from what’s in it for me (praises over doing a great thing for someone in need, “getting” hours needed for rank advancement, etc.) to recognizing that service should be motivated by love of others and seeks no reward or special recognition for it’s execution.
The Bible has a bit to say about helping other people, too. Even though you don’t need to be “Christian” to be a scout, the families in our unit happen to be Christians and since we share a common faith practice, we often look at scriptures to better understand life and what we’re called to do in our “duty to God and duty to Others”.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV) – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Matthew 5:13-16 — “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
James 2:14-18 — What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
Service by scouts makes a difference in the world around us. We enrich the lives of other people and we discover for ourselves that when we learn to do our good turns out of the right motivation and with expecting nothing in return, we can approach service in a whole new way.
How about you?
- What will you do this week to “help other people at all times”?
- Will you do your “good turn” daily?
- Are you “prepared” to intervene at a moment’s notice to save a life or to help a person in distress?