On some level, we are all constantly searching for a tool, system, app, service, etc, that will make their lives easier…more efficient.
If I don’t have time to clean my house, I hire a cleaner to do that for me.
If I don’t know how to change the oil in my car, I find a mechanic to do that for me.
If I don’t want to mow my lawn, I hire a landscaping company to do that for me.
If I prefer not to pick up my dog’s poop while I walk it, someone will follow behind me and throw it away for a small fee (For real…this exists. Check it out)
The point is…I can structure my life in a way that allows me to outsource many of the material needs that I have, and in doing so, I remain completely removed from needing anything from my community of friends, family, and others. Sure, I can pay someone to come clean out my gutters…but that robs me of my opportunity to allow others into my life in a really practical way.
Now, I know that reaching out and asking others for a favor makes some people shutter. The audacity of asking someone to go out of their way to help you! ;)
But let me ask you this…
If your friend happened to call you and ask for 2 hours out of your Saturday to come help him clean out his gutters, would you be offended? Would you hang up the phone and mutter to yourself, “I can’t believe the nerve on that guy!”…? Of course not! In fact, I would argue that his request for your help would bless you. Even knowing that he thought of you as someone who would be willing to serve him in that way would bless you.
Oh how different our world would be if we served generously and were humble enough to ask for others’ help in return.
A very dear friend of mine, and coincidently one of the founding members of the Distinguished Society of Fine Gentlemen, Mr. Kevin Dennis, provided a profound shift of perspective for me in this area.
He had borrowed an item from me a few times as he was getting some odd jobs done around the house. On one of those occasions, I mentioned to him, “hey man why don’t you just keep that and I’ll get another one”. I figured it’d be helpful for him to have one of his own so he didn’t have to feel like he was imposing when he asked (though of course, I did not feel this way at all).
His response really surprised me…and it taught me a valuable lesson.
He called me, thanked me for my offer, and respectfully declined. His reasoning was that he enjoys asking for things from people because it keeps him connected to them. What a profoundly different way of looking at “asking someone for a favor”. Instead of believing that he is a terrible inconvenience and placing a burden on someone by asking for their help, he instead sees it as a way to bless them by allowing them the opportunity to serve him and his family. In addition, this then allows him the chance to serve them in return by offering his time or resources when they need it. A door that would have not been nearly as open if he had not allowed them to first help him. And trust me, Mr. Dennis is the first to offer whatever he has to others who need it.
Of course, one must use discretion when asking for help from others to ensure their requests are reasonable…but Mr. Dennis’ outlook on this taught me a valuable lesson that challenged my previous way of viewing it. One I wanted to pass along to you today.
May we all see his example and look for where we can apply it in our own lives. I genuinely believe that, if practiced, it would result in a deeper connection to those around us and provide far more opportunities to serve. That is, indeed, what all fine gentlemen ought to be seeking in any endeavor.