Chaplain’s thoughts … Find purpose by adding value to others

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The Easter season is upon us, and in my faith tradition as a Christian, I am reminded of the impact Jesus made while interacting with people on this earth. His love for people and acts of service provides meaning for so many faith groups around the world.

One of the interactions I’d like to highlight, was when Jesus was watching his disciples struggling to catch fish. They were seasoned fisherman and had been fishing all night, and had caught nothing. The frustration was evident among the disciples and upon assessing the situation, Jesus directed the disciples to cast their net on the right side of the boat.

The disciples followed the instruction, and caught so much fish they could not possibly haul the net onto the boat. Instead, they dragged the net onto the shore and took some of the fish, and put it on the fire for an amazing breakfast! As they were gathered around the fire, Jesus was able to provide value, meaning and context to a situation that would have otherwise been an ordinary, uneventful fishing attempt by the disciples.

Depending on your faith background, the acts of Jesus can provide us with many spiritual truths and practical applications. As I watch people go about their everyday lives, I wonder how many times we become stingy with our knowledge, wisdom, or even skills. Unfortunately, at times, we’d rather watch people struggle with the things they’re doing, while all along knowing we have the expertise to teach people to make their lives easier and achieve their goals.

I know I have been fortunate enough to receive knowledge and wisdom that could be helpful to our fellow Airmen. Through my conversations, I have heard stories of workplaces where their culture belittles their fellow Airmen because of their lack of knowledge instead of using their expertise to teach people how to succeed.

In the end, the goal in our progression is not to step on everybody on our way to the top. Ultimately, the goal is to strive for excellence for the completion of the mission, and to elevate everyone around us so that we all move up together.

It’s easy to become critical as an onlooker when it comes to teaching people how to “fish.” Mentoring and educating those around us takes time out of our busy schedule and is definitely a commitment. Although it may seem counterintuitive to use our time intentionally in this way, the value you provide others, as the story of the disciples fishing suggests, will have a disproportionate, positive return to you.

The idea of giving people “fish“ is great and has its place; however, teaching people how to fish by helping them refine a skill, make a better living, or even get out of a bad situation is empowering and provides a way for people to develop meaningful purpose and fulfillment.

For more information, or to speak with a chaplain, the Luke Air Force Base Chapel at 623-856-6211.