Like many other staff members here, I first came to Tejas as a member of the Summer Ministry Team. I remember seeing Mark 10:45 everywhere. It was on our shirts, written on whiteboards in conference rooms, hanging above the dishwashing station in the kitchen; it was even brought up in almost every meeting. There were constant reminders that we were here to model Christ – that we were here to serve others, just as He came to serve, rather than be served.
When I think of being served, one of the first things I think of is food – letting someone else do the cooking, and just sitting back and enjoying a nice hot meal. I think of receiving assistance with something I am unable to do by myself. I think of feeling blessed, encouraged, and thankful. Ultimately, I think of feeling worthy and valued.
But let’s turn this picture upside down and look at serving, rather than being served. When we serve someone else, we’re doing the work. We’re preparing the food. We’re helping them lift that heavy box. We’re doing something so that they don’t have to. We’re giving people like Tom Britton, with Hutto Chamber of Commerce, the ability to say “We have tried some other places, but no one takes care of their people like you guys do! We are excited to be back.”
When we serve others, there may not always be much external, visible reward, but sometimes there will be. This year, we discovered first-hand the visible external reward of serving others. We started a new event at Tejas called Serve Day. With no idea how many people would come, we published a link to the registration form on our website. We had almost 100 people come to serve us by clearing out brush, freshening up paint, transitioning between Summer Camp and Retreats, and so much more. Many of these were people we had personally served by refilling coffee, turning on lights, or preparing food. We recognized their faces, and felt so incredibly humbled to have them serving us.
There may not always be an external reward for serving, but it is more than enough to see that first smile on someone’s face when they realize that they are valued, or to hear words like these from Zach, who recently brought a group of 60 men from his church out to Tejas:
“Everyone we met seemed to go out of their way and we really appreciated it. Especially as the organizer, it made it a lot easier. So many guys were excited and encouraged by the weekend. Most are already asking when we will do it again. Camp Tejas will definitely be one of the top places on my list when we sit down to plan it for next year.”
We never know when our service will impact someone’s life in a mighty way. We meet their external need through providing comfortable rooms, warm food, and a peaceful atmosphere. Our guests consistently want to return to Tejas because, with all their other needs met, they have found Christ here and He has met the deepest needs of their heart.