Saturday, May 30, 2009

Las Vegas Northwest Rotary taught me what a service club can be.

Wow. What an experience.

Last Wednesday, the 26th, I went to Las Vegas with my boys, Acey and Ethan. We arrived late (sorry, long story) at the club house at Summerlin TPC and met one of the best groups I’ve ever seen.

What a lovely place to meet. One day it would be a dream come true to actual play golf at TPC Summerlin. But speaking to this Rotary Club was just as memorable. Great attendance, gracious introduction, attentive group, thoughtful input.

We talked about the fine line between help and enabling. Sometimes when we reach out and serve someone, the result is not what we expected. No one is obligated to react in a certain way when they receive help, and we cannot expect any certain behavior or reaction to our efforts to serve.

I’m reminded of a comment someone recently made to me when I was speaking to a club. This man told me how he had tried to help a neighbor who had a truck that wasn’t running. The neighbor really needed the truck for the work that he did.
The truck needed a new engine, and this man had the connections to provide a new engine.
What great service! Providing a new engine for a truck is a big thing to do for a neighbor.
The mechanic who installed the new engine mentioned to this man that the engine had burned up because the radiator was faulty. It would need to be repaired.
So this man told his neighbor that his truck now had a new engine, but that he should take the truck immediately to a radiator shop and have the radiator repaired.

Was that too much to ask? After receiving a new engine, should this man expect the neighbor to respectfully care for the truck and have the radiator repaired?
The radiator was ignored, and the new engine was burned up in two weeks.

What’s the message here?
Reaching out to a neighbor who needs a vehicle repaired is a very good act of service.
But we CANNOT expect the recipient of that service to respond in any preconceived way.
Once we have performed the service in question, we have done all we can.
Was the service wasted?
Absolutely not.
First, the service performed changed the giver more than the receiver, and that’s the most important thing.
Second, we may never know the underlying effects on the receiver because of this service that may make a difference later on.

Give with out expecting anything in return.

Over all, a wonderful morning. Great breakfast! Beautiful setting! Strong, impressive club. And best of all, my boys got to see me do something I love so much.

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