Use Your Gifts to Serve and Make a Difference
By the time you begin thinking about finishing well, you have finally become comfortable knowing what your gifts are and how you could make a difference in the world. Making a difference doesn’t have to be a big thing, but people who finish well have learned to serve others. Writer and activist Parker Palmer says it so well: “No one has ever died saying, ‘I’m so glad for the self-centered, self-serving, and self-protective life I lived.’ Offer yourself to the world—your energies, your gifts, your visions, your spirit—with openhearted generosity.” What can you offer to make a difference?
Bob and Tanya volunteered to be premarital and marriage mentors to younger couples. Rachel decided it was time to put her money where her mouth is when it came to helping street kids in Kenya. As a single empty nester, she took time out of her busy schedule not only to give money but to help find donations for a wonderful organization that brings hope and healing to kids. When she had more time, she began taking women on “vision trips.” She told me, “I’m just a mom with a heart for underserved kids.” She has raised more than $20 million to erase poverty and bring hope to thousands of families, while juggling a career and keeping up with her adult children and grandchildren.
Obviously, not everyone is equipped or motivated to do what Rachel has done in Kenya. But everyone can make a difference serving others. Cathy makes cookies with her grandkids and passes them out to lonely neighbors. Bill volunteers on the coffee team at church. Cindy uses her resources and time to come alongside military families, showing love and appreciation to these heroes who often don’t feel like heroes because their huge sacrifices go unnoticed. People who finish well know the joy of serving.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer summed it up this way: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”
 Parker J. Palmer, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old (Oakland, CA: Barrett-Koehler, 2018), 45.