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Muddy Boots Blog

A Day of Service vs. A Life of Service

Posted by griffithd on January 16, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Across America today in many communities individuals and organizations have gathered to give a day of service. They do so in honor of Dr. King's legacy. In my part of the country, the day comes in cold weather, and the needs of the homeless and hungry are particularly significant.

As I wrote last month, this work on a holiday is always appreciated and always needed, but perhaps the highest value is highlighting the need for individual and organizational service year round.

What would it look like if part of our economic routine was time devoted to service? I recently become aware two local businesses who by design donate 10 percent of their annual profits to charity. I know of several others that are like minded. What is interesting is they also support their employee's service efforts in their respective communities. You are no doubt aware of the excellent work supported by company and family foundations.

The other emerging trend is that of Social Impact Investing. We are increasingly seeing investors looking at projects, and in addition to economic returns, they are looking for social impact. It might be in the form of job creation, environmental impact, providing affordable housing, or improved educational technology and processes. A little less return, but one with an intentional social implication.

What I appreciate is the notion that our significant social challenges are increasingly seen as not just a government issue that we as taxpayers leave in government hands. Instead, there is a movement afoot to deal with these problems as individuals and businesses in a shared community.

It is here that I see faith-based institutions and social service agencies, like ECS where I work, as both an agent of change and as a convener of like-minded individuals and organizations. We need to acknowledge that this work is complicated and challenging. That scale and resources matter and that there is little need for competition among like-minded individuals and organizations.

Think about the impact if rather than a day of service, we committed to a life of service? That if all our actions and investments held an element of social impact? Scale matters and is a given when we consider the size of the issues we face as a country. I do not doubt that we are capable of such actions. My fear is do we have the will?

Think of the impact of such service driven by all of us, informed as light and love.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Dr. M.L. King.


Join the movement.

Categories: ECS Outreach, Muddy Boots, Leadership

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