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Sattler Values: Service

Student Life

Sattler Values: Service

Missionaries become the movie stars of the church at times. Adventure and thrill dominate their lives. Pilots fly into remote places to spread the gospel. Medical missionaries tell stories of miraculous healings and people hearing the Gospel for the first time.. These stories enchant us and inspire us to lead more faithful lives.

At Sattler, we emphasize church-building and disciple-making. The call to fulfill the great commission is woven into the fabric of the college. It is at the core of what happens in academics, journey groups and student life. It’s not uncommon to hear people in the hallways discussing visions of a church plant or preparation for a bible study.

Missionaries set a great example for Christians to follow, and have deeply shaped the nature of Sattler culture. However, it is a tough bar to attain sometimes. Between school work, family, friends, church, hobbies, and juggling countless other responsibilities; every spare minute seems to be eaten up with good things. Internal dissonance arises when these good things don’t look like reaching remote people or starting a rousing revival. Comparison stifles and disheartens even the strongest among us. The radiance of missionary tales looks vastly different from sitting at a desk and studying, whether it be understanding DNA replication, the book of Galatians, mastering Python, reading Thucydides, or brainstorming business plans — books and lectures can seem pale in light of burgeoning problems such as poverty or the rise of sex trafficking.

I personally had to come to grasp the incongruity of my life in comparison to the great missionaries and evangelists one day during a procrastination session. As I felt the mounds of academia closing in, I longed to escape the feeling of failure and lack of impact. Just then, an Elisabeth Elliot talk popped up on my YouTube feed. A couple of minutes in, Elliot, in her strong, matter-of-fact voice simply stated, “Ministry means service, it doesn’t mean anything else.” The phrase echoed and reverberated. “Ministry means service, it doesn’t mean anything else.” The simple clarity of the sentence was startling, maybe even stunning. Elliot is the epitome of missionary idealization and she reduced all the flashiness of ministry to its root–service.

The standard that was held so high was quickly reduced to something achievable in everyday life- even the life of a frenzied college student. Work is fundamental to college and studying. Every day in every study room cubicle, my fellow classmates pour their hearts and souls into their homework. But to what end? Service implies not just work but also a recipient of that work. Who is the work being done for? Elliot was clearly serving the Auca people and all missionary pilots and doctors clearly had a target too. I pondered what my end goal was and who I was seeking to serve. Unfortunately, the only target that seemed relevant at the moment was 100 Cambridge St (the office building where Sattler College is located). It seemed easy to despair when all the circles of influence around me seemed so small.

However, Psalms 100 answered the question:

Make a Joyful noise to the Lord, all the Earth!
Serve the Lord with Gladness!
Come into his presence with Singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
And his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
His steadfast love endures forever,
And his faithfulness to all generations.

Perhaps at that moment, there was a tiny bit of overthinking going on. “DUH! The chief goal is to serve God.” No matter how it looks —  studying or otherwise. Psalms 100 put all these things into perspective. Elisabeth Elliot has it right. Adventure and excitement are present in serving, but that service is bubble-wrapped in knowledge and dependence on God. The location or action of service doesn’t even seem to matter.

Sattler College sums up Service as:

Service: We serve Christ, the church, and the world by actively seeking out ways to bring honor to God, edifying the church, and making the Earth rejoice.

This gives us a good starting point, but Psalm 100 gives a greater understanding of that through the commands that punctuate the chapter: make a joyful noise, serve the Lord, come into his presence, know that the Lord he is God, and enter his gates with thanksgiving. All these commands are paralleled. If service does not go hand in hand with knowledge, praise and remembrance of God it will fall flat. You can’t just take one pillar of Sattler student life — they all work together. As one praises God, joy, excitement and even some exclamation points may show up in one’s life as well.

So whether you are headed back into the rhythm of studying, construction, housekeeping or whatever you are called to do. Lift up your eyes and see the world anew. For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations. This one included.

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