Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Being of Service

The importance of being of service in business is certainly not new. But how we serve, our motive for service, should be looked at anew. With our increasingly global economy, with new markets opening through innovative technology, service is becoming an even more integral part of why we do what we do.

Companies whose focus is service are undoubtedly in greater demand. Our increasing technological innovations from off-shore call centers to online interactive help aides to registering for airline tickets and hotels beg the question of service in our global economy. What is our motive for service? How can we best serve others? Who are some of the great examples of service and why?

The greatest example of service to me is Christ. His motive was for others, though his mission brought others to him. He spoke of service to others as not being connected with the desire to draw attention to himself, but one of being of service to others disconnected from the sole purpose of self-serving promotion. The "sole" here is necessary, as it is abundantly clear in scripture that Christ well positioned himself for recognition.

Recognition was not Christ's main purpose, but it was most certainly vital to his ministry on earth. His very statements alone brought attention to himself as well as his telling those to whom he brought miraculous healing not to tell of them. Who do you know, after being healed of such present diseases as AIDS or terminal cancer, would not tell of it? Not many, if any. Seeking recognition was by no means his raison d'etre, but recognition was vital to his cause. His mission statement was one of service. Christ said, "I am among you as One who serves." Service brought him recognition.

The distinction of being of service is the motive of drawing and the reason for being. It is the difference of drawing others to be as opposed to being to draw others. It is not that we do not prepare for how our service will impact us or our business, but it is our motive of being of service for others that distinguishes. It is our initiation of strategy and implementation of service that matters. Being for others, in fact, draws others to us.

Christ understood well that we often consider our personal position when serving others and not necessarily those whom we will serve. Strategy and implementation of service is often initiated by how it will most benefit us, as opposed to those whom we will serve. Service is not often about the other, but about us. While the focus of service should be about others, the result directly benefits us.

In Luke 22: 24-27 Christ's disciples wanted to know who among them would most benefit from their acts of service. They wanted to know who would be the greatest in his circle, as if the reward of service is greater than the act of service itself. Christ thought otherwise. Here is the scene:

"Now there was a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.

And He said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors.

But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.

For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves."

As those in business, our reason of being should be to serve. When we have served well we will have met the needs of our clients. When we have served well our rewards will be great. When we have served well our name will be known. When we have served well recognition follows. When we have served well others will seek us out. The key is being of service to others and not soley for ourselves.

What are your thoughts on service? I'd love to hear any stories.

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