Living with the Servants of the Word
Eoin is from Ireland and graduated with a degree in literature from the University of Dublin in 2013. His brother Tadhg made his lifelong commitment to the Servants of the Word in 2016.
I started living with the Servants of the Word in August of 2016 in Lansing, Michigan—home of the Spartans. People occasionally joke that my being here is the reason for the epic downfall of their football team this year. I guess the luck of the Irish can’t be all that good.
I had been around the brothers’ environment as a community kid and into my college years. The brothers were always willing to put me up in one of their perpetually spotless houses when I needed a place to stay, or when they invited me to come and visit. Every prayer time was powerfully purposeful and the Lord’s Day meals that we had were rich experiences. (The food wasn’t that bad either.)
I thought to myself, “Man these guys really go the extra mile for their guests.” It was only after my first few weeks in Lansing that I became astonished and somewhat envious when I realized they had the same commitment to prayer and chores on a Monday that they displayed the previous Saturday. On the surface, it looked amazing and inspiring. So I became excited. I thought, “This is the kind of life for which I want to sign up. In this I will find ultimate satisfaction.” So I went for it full throttle. “I’m going to become the model Christian man by following the example of these men,” I thought. But something struck me one day as I was working at the brothers’ house in Grand Rapids: my sheer willpower which had gotten me by thus far was beginning to wane a little. I couldn’t believe my older brothers’ tender urgency to cut lunch short in order to finish what we were working on before the evening was out.
As I observed my brothers I noticed that something other than willpower or a need for recognition dictated the way they acted—especially the older ones. Each task, each prayer time, each conversation was given the utmost attention, but was devoid of the need for affirmation. I was discovering that it is not excellence in work, prayer, and relationships that inspires these men but a zealous love of the Lord. I learned that while prayer is work it can be peaceful; one can derive a degree of satisfaction from work, and a good conversation can bless a brother. Even when the brothers corrected me I saw it coming from their love for me and their love for the Lord. Me, the brother being corrected, gets all of the benefits; the brother giving the correction receives very little in return.
While I can now say that my original desire of wanting to become the “accomplished man” has begun to change. I have developed back pains from shoveling snow and lifting heavy objects in the wrong way. I have learned to cook chili without poisoning my housemates. Most importantly though, the brothers here have shown me that developing a deeper peace and joy in the Lord and learning His ways is of utmost importance. This peace and joy compels us to introduce others to a relationship with Christ that is dictated by both joy and peace. Hopefully, with further help from my brothers and the strength of Christ, this process will continue to develop and only God knows where He will lead.
– Eoin, March 2017