This I Believe

Michael - Lexington, Kentucky
Entered on November 30, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

This I believe. I believe in Service Debt. No, this is not a debt to the Electric Company or any other bill you might owe. Nor is it the capital debt of the Gas Company. It is not a monetary debt of any kind. But it is an obligation that many owe, but not all repay or even try to repay.

Service Debts are created by the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts to name a few of the organizations that they might come from. I have had a Service Debt for over 35 years. The more I work to pay it off, it seems the bigger the debt grows. But I am happy about this debt. How can anyone be happy over a debt you ask?

Let me explain my debt, then maybe you will understand. When I was 16, someone asked me “How will you pay this Service Debt off?” Probably 1800 hours of Service Debt was mine by the age of 16. How would anyone ever pay that many hours off. In the years since then I have done more hours than that to try to pay back the debt. I am now 60 years old and feel that I still have a large Service Debt.

My first Service Debt was to the Boy Scouts. It was created by all the adults who took their time to teach me how to tie knots or how to swim along the way to becoming an Eagle Scout. But more than the skills involved, I learned how to be leader, how to be good citizen, the value of voting and participating in your government, what it is to know God in your daily life, and finally the value of helping others.

I have been in Scouting now for 52 years. I have served on School Boards and been the President of a Rotary Club. A United Way volunteer. A Sunday School teacher and many more of those things that help others in some way. Yes, these times build that service debt for others and for me.

You see the reason I believe in Service Debt, I have never done something for someone else that I did not get as much reward personally out of it, if not more, than the person who I was helping.

Think over your life, sometime, somewhere, someone held out a helping hand. You too have a service debt. Now, go pay it back, be it big or small, by serving others and you will find one of the greatest rewards in life. I believe a Service Debt is a good debt. I am glad someone many years ago helped me understand, what a Service Debt did for me and what it can do for others.