Stephen Colbert: “You serve what you love.”
Stephen Colbert gave the commencement speech at Northwestern this year. After lots of the usual funnies, he gets to “the meaningful part of the speech” at about 4:30.
“In my experience, you will truly serve only what you love, because service is love made visible. If you love friends, you will serve your friends. If you love community, you will serve your community. If you love money, you will serve your money. And if you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself, and you will have only yourself. So no “winning.” Instead, try to love others, and serve others, and hopefully find those who will love and serve you in return.”
This is absolutely true. Human beings are designed as worshipers. One of the biblical words used for worship basically means service. We love what we worship and we worship what we love. This means that what we love will have a profound impact on us, shaping (or twisting) us into it’s image. At least in the video excerpted here, Colbert doesn’t reference where he gets this philosophy. But it’s quite the biblical concept. As Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).
I agree with everything Colbert says here, and appreciate the rebuke to the Charlie Sheen-style “winning” ethos that has permeated our culture. But the “trying” to love and serve others will only get us so far; we also need the change of heart that Jesus brings so that we are not intent on selfish “winning,” but loving others as well. “We love because he (God) first loved us’ (1 John 4:19).