National Commander Encourages College Students to Serve
“In God’s kingdom, this King rules with a towel and not a sword. If you would be great, you must learn to serve.”
Chapel attendees at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA were given this motivational call to serve last week by Commissioner William A. Roberts, National Commander of The Salvation Army. The event highlighted area volunteer opportunities to students through Regent Serves – the school’s philanthropic arm encouraging students to change the world through service and Christian leadership.
Regent’s online student newspaper reported on the Commissioner’s visit and message:
Service is a major component of Regent University’s motto, Christian Leadership to Change the World. On Wednesday, Sept. 12, Salvation Army National Commissioner William A. Roberts spoke at Regent’s chapel, which highlighted service opportunities for students through a Regent Serves open house. Several local service organizations set up booths for students to learn ways they could volunteer their time in the Hampton Roads community.
Commissioner Roberts spoke to the university community about living a life of service from the Gospel of Mark. He cited examples of Jesus’ followers either speaking when Jesus told them not to or remaining silent when they were told to tell the world. He read chapter 10:35-45 about two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, asking for a place of honor beside Him in heaven. Roberts summed up Jesus’ unexpected response.
“In God’s kingdom, this King rules with a towel and not a sword,” he said. “If you would be great, you must learn to serve.”
The Salvation Army and its 3.5 million volunteers embody this mentality. As the world’s largest faith-based charity, the Salvation Army has been a leader in non-profit organization while meeting the basic needs of people in the United States for 130 years.
“This is not the way the world thinks,” Roberts said. “[Service] is not how you get ahead.” Instead, he suggested, the world functions in hierarchy: someone is always at the top and everyone who isn’t at the top wants to be at the top.
Why is this? “We associate responsibility and value to an organization with our personal value,” Roberts replied. However, that’s not the model of Jesus in the Bible. “They live best who serve best,” he said. “Jesus called all who follow him to a life of service and self-giving.”
Roberts wrapped up his remarks with the prayer of a nun he came across in his early years with the Salvation Army. “Let us be worthy of those we serve,” he said. At first, Roberts didn’t understand what the old nun meant, but then he recalled a verse in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25: “& whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
“Therefore, let us be worthy of those we serve,” Roberts concluded, “because we want to be worthy of the Lord.”