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Ask not what your country can do for you, what you can do for your country! – John F. Kennedy

These words have come to mind many times over the years. They can be applied to ‘country’, or ‘company’ or ‘family’ or ‘church’ or any other organization.

In the world we live in, at least here in the States, most of us join organizations for the benefits they can offer us. For instance, the National Rifle Association offers several incentives from a pocket knife to apparel in order to keep its membership numbers up. I’m a member myself, so I’m not singling them out by any means, but that makes it pretty obvious that people join groups with the thought “what’s in it for me?”

The down side of this is that we don’t generally feel a lot of loyalty towards a group after joining. How often do we hear the words “I’m not getting much out of that group… maybe I’ll go to another or quit?” Or “Our pastor at church isn’t very good. Sometimes I wonder why I even go. Maybe it’s time to look for another church” Or “Our leaders in Washington are idiots! I’m not even going to vote this year. Why bother?!”

All of these things guarantee that the respective organizations will remain “status quo”. However, I have learned that we don’t need to be a “designated leader” in order to bring about positive change. We can do it by asking “what can I do to help?” or “what can I do to contribute to the success of our organization?”

My friend Michael Cobb in Vian, Oklahoma is a shining example of what I am saying. He didn’t like the way the public school system was being led, so he campaigned and got elected as an official. Subsequently he has brought a LOT of public awareness to the situation. Further, he has been active in holding officials at the State level accountable for their decisions regarding our funding for education. He truly is “making a difference”.

Each of us our own talents and gifts we could be using to improve things wherever we are. Work is a prime example of a place where opportunity abounds. Many of us go to work, do what we are told, get a paycheck and go home. What if all of us started looking for ways to improve our small area of influence without any concern for compensation? Wouldn’t things be a lot nicer for us? Do you think the company might be more profitable? At least the environment would be nicer to work in, wouldn’t it?

The next time you catch yourself complaining about your membership in an organization, don’t ask yourself “what can they do for me?” but instead ask “what can I do for them?”

Have a great day everyone!