A Fair Exchange


Christopher Pate 

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Recently, I was watching a documentary. I was engulfed in the story that was being discussed when I discovered the essence of learning through storytelling hadn’t changed much since my childhood. In fact, once I was able to zoom out, I saw that the Bible is a collection of lives in the form of stories. Jesus taught the people in His time through parables or “stories.” Books, movies, and video games are all stories. And true to form I will present the information that I have gathered through stories of my and my families lives. I encourage everyone to “zoom” out past the story and see the principle that can be utilized in any life.


"The greatest among you will be your servant."

Matthew 23:11


I must admit that most of my life that I had missed this principle of service. Until recently, I had considered service to be a generic term that a businesses used usually with the term "customer service." I also grew up believing that service was another name for  "church" ( Yes, I know some call it service while other call gathering together church, let's not be picky here.). I did not understand that service was truly a principle that could be used to advance me in my personal growth and throughout life.

What principles if any are we using to guide us throughout life?

Can we even identify that we are indeed living life out of principles as opposed to "going with the flow? 


“The longer I live and the more experience I have of the world, the more I am convinced that, after all, the one thing that is most worth living for-and dying for, if need be-is the opportunity of making someone else more happy.”  

— Booker T Washington "Up From Slavery



Check out this illustration of service in action that took place between my son Aiden and myself.  Quite often I give out  'life lessons" as my boys call them. Well I invite you to be apart of this life lesson. 

We recently went to the barbershop and after the barber provided us with a service which I must say was above expectation. I gave Aiden the money, plus tip to give to the barber. After Aiden thanked the barber,  we were walking to the car. I asked Aiden. "What did that man just do for us?" He replied, "he cut our hair dad." I replied, " Yes. He did" Now "why did we pay him?" Aiden stated, "Because he provided us with a service and he was nice." I agreed with Aiden that he provided us a service and that there was no way to acquire wealth in this world except to provide service." 

Many have tried and many have failed. Those who try to reap or receive wealth without sowing or providing service will ultimately be in a bad situation, if not financially, then in their relationships, mental or physical life. Everything about people is made to serve everything around them and everything around them made to service them. We serve plants carbon dioxide and they serve us oxygen. The relationship is give & receive.  

The point that I clarified for Aiden was the point that regardless how "nice" someone appears to be, nice is not what prompts the exchange between to people. I explained that money is a concept that symbolizes the exchange of services rendered between two people. A person could be nice but if their service was poor, eventually they would be in a position of poverty. (We will get into the causes of poverty a little later throughout our journey together.) 

I said to Aiden, If Lebron James was the barber would we compensate him? Aiden stated "No." LeBron James is in the service of basketball. I said "Yes" we would compensate LeBron James based off of his ability to play basketball or his other endeavors, not off his ability to cut hair. I said an exchange is built off of service in a particular area." I checked to see if Aiden  understood this concept and principle,  and we went about our day.


Up From Slavery
By Booker T. Washington

Booker T Washington embodied the principle of serving other all throughout his life. I recommend that everyone read his book which was written over 150 years ago. Observe how he used the principle of service to overcome any obstacles that He encountered in his life. We can use this same principle in order to advance within out our own lives. 

To recap the power behind the  principle of service: 

  • Serving is indeed a way of life. Not just a term Apple, Facebook, or other companies have used this principle to  acquire their space in life. 

  • Wealth has to be earned through service to another. Any other way to acquiring wealth cannot and  not sustain.  

  • Service is available and alive and waiting for anyone who chooses to use it

Reflection Moments

How do we think about  'service ' functioning in our lives?

How can we better  understand and implement this principle in our lives starting now and moving forward?