Hope Shines Here
What a concept. To be a beacon of hope for others is one of the most potent acts of service. Hope brings light, hope shines through the darkness and hope catalyzes community.
"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being."
- Carl Gustav Jung
Over the last several years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know the organization at the center of the Hope Shines Here mantra. Buckner International has a truly global vision of ‘maximizing resources and leadership to serve vulnerable children, seniors and families’. They work to transform the lives of vulnerable children, enrich the lives of senior adults and build strong families. Deeply rooted in Christ-centered tenets, Buckner International is defined by three organizational values:
· Servant Spirit
Through foster-care and adoption, retirement services, hope centers and family pathways, Buckner International is dedicated to serving the most vulnerable from the beginning of life to the ending of life. Buckner is committed to domestic projects as well as international projects based in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic.
There are exceptional people working with Buckner International. I am elated that the President and CEO, Albert L. Reyes, DMin, PhD describes himself as Chief Servant. He is the sixth president to lead Buckner International since the founding in 1879. He is a member of the trustees of the Joint Council for International Children’s Services, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the T.B. Mason Institute.
Despite his tremendously busy schedule, Albert agreed to sit down and share his thoughts on service with the W3 Blog community today:
It would be impossible to count the number of times I have said or written these words: “Let me know how I can be of service to you.” What I mean is that I would really like to know how I can serve you. To be of service means to serve my neighbor. To treat other people the way I would like to be treated. It means I set aside my needs and wants and look to the interests of other people around me.
I learned this lesson early in life, as a nine year old, while working in the family businesses. We owned grocery stores, laundromats, and a candy wholesale distribution company. Our business was service in retail and wholesale markets. My mother impressed up us the value of a customer and what it meant to serve them. My parents would lecture us and teach us “if the customer is not happy, we don’t have a business.” Our goal was to be sure the customer had what they needed and more. I learned about serving in our businesses but I also learned about serving in church. My parents took us every Sunday, Wednesday, and during special events. We had service roles and assignments and we valued the idea of serving others. We were of service to members in the church and to the community at large.
My father and my older brother both served in the U.S. Marine Corps. They were in the “service.” I served in the U.S. Army Reserve under the motto “Pro Deo et Patria,” For God and Country. The calling to serve one’s country was something to be desired; that is, to lay one’s life down for God and country.
This early and life-long orientation to being “of service” has shaped most, if not all, of my vocational decisions. The concept of being “of service” to others is a basic requirement for success and an honorable experience. Bill Hybels, in his book Descending into Greatness, uses the example of Jesus of Nazareth, who descended into greatness by following the leadership of his father to serve. He, being God, came to earth in human form and became a servant, obedient to death, becoming nothing for us. Hybels says that Jesus taught “the way up is down.” This framework has led me to a number of “divine demotions” in vocational roles. Those decisions have led me to where I serve today.
While my title is President and CEO of Buckner International, I view myself as the Chief Servant. My role is to serve those on my team with guidance, counsel, direction, protection, and support so they can be successful in their assignments. I believe that if I serve my leaders well, they will, in turn serve our clients well, with excellence and passion. The greatest privilege I have is to kneel down in front of a child to wash his or her feet, to dry their feet, put brand new socks on and then brand new tennis shoes and ask for the privilege of praying a blessing over them. In the end, the one who serves tends to receive the greater blessing. At the core of Jesus’ inaugural sermon is the concept of serving others. No greater love has anyone that to lay down his life for a friend.
If this strikes you, please check out Albert’s book, The Jesus Agenda: Becoming an agent of redemption. You can learn about it at www.jesusagendabook.com
Thank you, Albert for your demonstration of servant leadership! I am humbled by your grace in supporting and serving those around you. I hope we can all explore the concepts of shining hope and becoming Chief Servants in our own lives, organizations and companies.
Please connect with me if you are interested in learning more about Buckner International, Albert or any of the messages discussed today. You can also follow Albert on his blog BucknerPrez and on Twitter @BucknerPrez.