Be a Servant — Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce

As a person who had studied and meditated on Christ’s life, the following words from Philippians 2:5-7 must have helped inspire Dr. Schweitzer to become the servant of God he was:

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

He was indeed a follower of Christ, serving in many capacities. At Lambaréné he was a doctor and surgeon, pastor of a congregation, administrator of a village, superintendent of buildings and grounds, writer of scholarly books, musician, and host to countless visitors.

Everyone who has served or wishes to serve God will be moved by Dr. Schweitzer’s story. They will be inspired by what he had the courage and the strength to do. They will admire the good he did for hundreds of Africans needing medical care. What would have happened to all those people if there had been no doctor available when they needed one?

What did being of service do for Dr. Schweitzer? Maybe you yourself know that already. Jesus himself said that “it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Consider this: Have you ever noticed how much happier you are when you help others, instead of being the one who is helped? Have you ever noticed how much more alive you feel when you do things for others? How your own aches and pains fade away? Remember how helping others filled you up and how love seemed to flow more freely?

And—conversely—how empty you felt at those times you felt you had nothing to give. It happens sometimes. It’s then that we must pray and open ourselves to God’s healing touch. It’s then that we must reach out and touch another who needs God’s love.

Before we move on, we should turn back to Gandhi, just for a moment. As another person devoted to service for others, Gandhi said, “I made the religion of service my own, as I felt that God could be realized only through service.”[1]

Gandhi stayed with his brother-in-law as he was dying, putting him in his room and staying with him day and night. “My aptitude for nursing gradually developed into a passion, so much so that it often led me to neglect my work…All other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.”[2]

Gandhi did not serve out of a sense of duty, but out of a spirit of love.

I think we could say the same about Albert Schweitzer.

[1] Gandhi, M. K. (1927) An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Navjivan Publishing House, , Ahmedabad, P. 168

[2][2] Gandhi, M. K. (1927) An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Navjivan Publishing House, , Ahmedabad, P. 184


The Schweitzer Album 1965, by Erica Anderson

Out of My Life and Thought 1990, Albert Schweitzer, Johns Hopkins University Press


This has been Part 40 of the series A Life Worth Living. Read Part 41 – Oskar Schindler

This is the last part of the Albert Schweitzer story. Coming soon will be Oskar Schindler, the Nazi industrialist who saved over 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust.