Virtue of the Week: Servitude


This story originally appeared in the play Some Folks Feel the Rain.

A man became lost while driving through the country. As he tried to read a map, he accidentally drove off the road into a ditch. Though he wasn’t injured, his car was stuck deep in the mud. Seeing a farmhouse just down the road, the man walked over to ask for help. “Warwick can get you out of the ditch,” the farmer said, pointing to an old mule standing in a field. The man looked at the haggard mule, and then looked back at the farmer, who just stood there nodding. “Yup, old Warwick can do the job.” The man figured he had nothing to lose, so the two men and Warwick made their way back to the ditch. After the farmer hitched the old mule to the car, he snapped the reigns and shouted. “Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull, Warwick! With very little effort, the lone mule pulled the car from the ditch. The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule and asked, “ Why did you call out all those other names before you called Warwick?” The farmer grinned and said, “Old Warwick is just about blind. As long has he believes he’s part of a team, he doesn’t mind pulling


“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. This doesn’t mean we have to die to show our love for our friends, neighbors, or strangers. We lay down our lives every time we put someone else’s needs before our own. We lay down our lives every time we serve each other no matter how small or how large the act. We lay down our lives through service. Every day we have hundreds of opportunities to serve one another. We can do small acts of kindness for our classmates, co-workers, neighbors, we can take part in community service, we can fulfill service responsibilities within our local team, school, church, or work organization. These actions, whether great or small, let us feel the happiness of connecting with our brothers and sisters and remind us how great it feels when we are able to be the answer to someone else’s prayers.

If we always keep people at arm’s length, conduct our work only in the confines of sterile environments, and seldom go out to work in the dirty trenches serving one another…… we will miss out on the best of what can stir the depths of our hearts… This is precisely the reason why some who come to serve our youth grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in a sense like curators studying and collecting souls— instead of being shepherds living with ‘the smell of the sheep.’ It’s dirty work helping kids. This is what Pope Francis was talking about when he said that shepherds should smell like their sheep. What do you smell like?

Video on serving one another: