One of the keys to living a meaningful life is embodying a heart of service. However, in a world so fixated on “I” and not “Us”, the word service gradually looses its relevance. Our daily life is infused with messages such as “treat yourself”, “live large” – messages that slowly seep into our subconscious and fuels our desire to zoom in on ourselves and what we want.
“I want that”, “I will love to have a life like that”. But as picture perfect as that might sound because we all want to live a life of success, serving others transforms lives and open doors of influence you would never get just focusing on your success.
Our spotlight for the month embodies this, so read on and be inspired
To begin, what does it mean to live a life that is meaningful?
To me, living a meaningful life has a twofold definition. The first is living a life that is 100% in line with God’s will for your life. The second is living a life that at your death bed you can look back and smile that regardless of how much money you made(or didn’t make) and how famous( or not famous) you were, there will be people who will be every grateful that they met you at some point.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years or hope to have accomplished by then?
I hope to have started (or be close to starting) my own technology based non-profit organization. I strongly believe that there are great technologies available that can be leveraged to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, be it child malnutrition, poverty, slavery, sex trafficking , homelessness and so on. I strongly believe that the great advancements in Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence, IOT and the likes can be leveraged to solve some of these problems or at least reduce the effects.
Is there anything about life that tugs your heart, or any controversial topic that you would love to shed more light on?
I am a big believer in service in all aspects of life. I think a lot of Christians get trapped in thinking that service only applies to what we do in church, but I think service goes beyond the four walls of a church. We have been gifted with intelligence and various vocational skills that can be leveraged to serve a greater purpose. Whether it’s doing pro-bono cases, or helping at a free law clinic as a lawyer, or offering free consulting advice to new immigrants, I think we can all leverage our vocational skills to serve.
What strikes you about service?
Matthew 20:28 says that Jesus (being fully God and through whom EVERYTHING was made) did not come to earth expecting to be served, but instead came to serve the people HE created.
Think about that for a second. In addition to a command by Jesus, what strikes me about service is that it forces you to take your gaze off yourself and fix it on someone else. In our me first, self-indulgent culture, Jesus pleasing service is the antidote to pride and selfishness. Also, I love being able to contribute to making someone smile and turn their day or life around.
Who or what has taught you the most information you use on a regular basis?
I think a lot of the things that I apply in my life in terms of morals and values come from the Bible (directly or indirectly). Either I get things during my own study or I hear it from a sermon or it was things my parents instilled in me while growing up, all of which were usually based on our Christian values.
In terms of vocational things, I do a lot of online courses. Working in the analytics and data science space, I always have to be on top of things as the field is expanding daily and new techniques and topics are constantly hitting the mainstream. Therefore, I follow a bunch of blogs, newsletters, websites, that focus on machine learning and AI. In addition, I’m also trying to attend meetups and conferences focused on applicable topics.
In what capacity have you served others and what’s one lesson you want to give others about service?
From a church perspective, I have had the great opportunity to be involved in various departments in different churches for most of my teenage and young adult life. I have been a part of worship teams (on and off) for almost 15 years or so. I have served in children’s ministry, cleaning ministry, helped with transportation, served as a young adult leader, led bible studies etc. Outside of church, I have served as a mentor with the big brother and sister organization in Edmonton, and was involved in various community outreach initiatives while I was student athlete in my undergrad. More recently, I have gotten into the habit of leveraging my skills as a data analytics professional to help non-profits make sense of their data and improve their operations.
The one thing I have learned about service is that your motive is key. If your motive is temporal/selfish, you will always be inconsistent, but if your motives are pure and selfless, then consistency will almost always automatically follow because regardless of whether or not you are being acknowledged or appreciated you will continue to labor tirelessly. I think especially at church, it’s so easy to see other people being praised and adored for doing even less than you. The devil will want to use that to trip you off, but if you are doing whatever you are doing for Jesus, then nothing earthly will matter. You won’t crave people’s applause or appreciation. Yes, it’s nice to be appreciated but that won’t be why you do what you do. This is a lesson that I have had to learn over the years. When I was younger, my motives certainly weren’t always pure. It was a classic case of zeal without knowledge, but God has been working on me and I’ve noticed that my hunger to serve is less about what people to think and more about what God is calling me to do. It brings me great joy to do something for others, no matter how big or small. It’s truly a privilege.
What irrational fear do you have?
Fear of settling for a life that’s less than what God had ordained for me when He made me. Fear of settling and marrying someone who will cause me to cool my love for serving people, instead of making it stronger. I say it’s irrational because the answer is simply trusting God and allowing Him to lead me, but sometimes the flesh is weak.
What’s your definition of success?
Much like my definition of living a meaningful life, my definition of success is how many people are thanking God because they met you at some point and you did something for them that helped change their life or even their day. Having the opportunity to help as many people as possible is what success means to me
This OR That?