Whenever there was a cross-cultural experience in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the crew of the Enterprise always interacted with some strange alien species. Through these experiences they learned what it meant to open their minds to different possibilities and cultures.
My cross-cultural experiences have taught me a lot about different people groups. More importantly, though, since they’ve taken place within the context of mission trips, my cross-cultural experiences have also taught me what it means to be a servant
For a few days I’m in east Hollywood with our high school group setting up for a toy drive. East Hollywood is far removed from the glitz and glamor of movie stars, champagne wishes and caviar dreams. In fact, most of the community around the church at which we’re working lives at or below the poverty line.
For our suburban students this trip really provides the opportunity for a cross-cultural experience only 50 miles from their track housing and shopping malls. This trip gives them the opportunity to see how people live outside the suburban bubble and appreciate everything that they may take for granted.
I’m happy for the cross-cultural experience but I also want our students to learn what it means to be a servant.
We’re currently celebrating the birth of Christ who took on the very nature of a servant in coming to earth. If we truly want to be like Christ then we need to learn how to be a servant. If I want our students to be more like Christ then they need to learn how to be servants. There are few things that can impact our lives as much as learning to be a servant.
I learned how to be a servant during high school on mission trips to Mexico. Cultivating a servant’s heart in Mexico by cooking dinner, mopping floors and cleaning toilets has influenced every other area of my life. The work I did in Mexico has paid dividends with my wife, my job, my friends, my family and our students.
If we can cultivate a servant’s heart now, there’s no telling the fruit it will bear in the future.
I’ve still got some cultivating left to do; I’m nowhere near the servant Jesus was. If we are intentional about seizing service opportunities, though, whether cross-cultural or across the street, then we may be a lot more like Jesus in six months than we are today.
What has helped you cultivate a servant’s heart?