A Lowly Position, A High Calling - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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September 3, 2018

A Lowly Position, A High Calling

This doesn’t matter.

This is insignificant.

This isn’t going to make a difference.

These weeds are just going to grow back.

As my face shone with sweat, these thoughts raced through my head. I was in Oregon on an Indian reservation. Rising in the distance, the mountains were brown with dead weeds, speckled with evergreens. Painted stones formed the name of the reservation – Warm Springs. It was the first day of the mission trip with Sacred Road Ministries, and I should have been completely energized, ready to work. But instead, these paralyzing thoughts seeped into my head and sapped my motivation. Down on hands and knees pulling weeds, I felt like a marathon runner at the end of a race, each step a battle, each second a mind game. I was exhausted, but I had only just begun.

As the sun beat down on the work site, I looked around the playground and prayed. I needed the Lord to renew my thoughts and fast. Deep down, I knew every act of service was important, but I needed a strength greater than my own. And then…the Lord answered.

Suddenly, the image of a man appeared in my mind. He was getting down on his hands and knees. With a towel in hand, He took hold of a foot, black with dust and dirt. With great care and love in His eyes, He washed the foot, continuing His menial task until 24 large, untidy feet had been washed gently and thoroughly. He accomplished the work of a humble servant, yet He was no servant. He was a master. He was a king. This man was Jesus Christ.

The Lord of the Universe accomplished one of the most insignificant, lowly tasks of his day. He washed feet. The king over all became a humble servant. Just as weeds grow back, feet are going to become dirty again; yet, He washed them, and it MATTERED. Through example, Christ showed that completing the task is not the point. Rather, the focus is having a heart of humble servitude. The point is loving God and neighbor and building community. With this realization, my energy was restored, and I pulled each weed with motivation, knowing that each weed pulled, each walk swept, each piece of trash thrown away was SIGNIFICANT. I was following in my master’s footsteps. Becoming a loving servant was the point.

The rest of the week flew by, we rejuvenated the playground, I built relationships, and I returned home to western PA. I pray the lessons learned will stick with me always. The concepts of servanthood and community are integral in every area of life. Whether I am on a reservation, in the inner city, at home, on a beach, or at school, I am called to be a humble servant.  This is a lowly position but a high calling.

As I enter upon my last year of college and look back upon my last three, I realize that these elements have been ever present and exemplified during my journey at Geneva. The faculty and staff serve each day with humility. Community is foundational to the college’s mission. Every job is done thoroughly and diligently no matter how small. And each student is welcome to join in. Every person is called to serve. Each individual is made to build.

The questions is: will you join me?

To learn more about community engagement opportunities on campus, contact Geneva’s Center for Student Engagement (CSE) Office at cse@geneva.edu, or for more information on Sacred Road Ministries, visit www.sacredroadministries.com.

-Olivia Forton ‘19