Why I do what I do

Look around this site and tell me what you see. A blog and a whole bunch of tutorials. True, but look again and tell me what you see. You see my work, what I have written. However, notice a common theme: they all help others. PatchIt! is intended to help ease distribution of LEGO Racers mods. LUCA helped others archive their LEGO Universe Creation Lab uploads. HTML Skeleton eases the creation of HTML documents. The tutorials or programs are to help you become a better programmer by learning new, better, or different skills. Even my blog posts, such as the one about Banana Pananic, shines light on someone else’s game. Why is this? Is this all by coincident or is there some common undercurrent?

When people ask me to do something, I will do my best to accomplish it if I think I have the ability. If I perform a simple task such as burn a CD or load/unload tables in a truck and they try to pay me, I refuse. Only if they absolutely insist do I accept the money and even I may not keep it. If it is a job that I should get paid for, such as scanning photo books all summer long, I may under charge what some think I should ask for. Why do I do this? Is it to build a reputation of “He does not charge as much and does just a good a job!”, or to show false piety, or is there something else that drives my actions?

The answer to both of these questions is quite simple: I am a servant. God has given me a spirit of servitude (called in some Bible translations, “the gift of helps”). OI am one who does for others. I do what I do because I want to see others succeed. Why do I not mod games often? Why do I not release texture packs, audio mods, or some other mod? That is not my place. I would gladly spend my time writing and debugging lines upon lines of code to equip others rather than use the same tools myself. Maybe that is why I am strong supporter of open-source: perhaps my code will benefit others. In fact, that has happened. Before the HTML Skeleton rewrite, someone adapted my code for Bootstrap, acknowledging my code helped form their base. To me, that was worth releasing the small extension I slapped together from example Brackets example extension code originally intended to reduce redundant typing for the CSS3 animation assignments from Spring 2014 semester. I will sit down and write tutorial after tutorial rather than use my knowledge to promote my own creations. Why? Because I work to help you work. I am a servant.

A servant is not a slave. Slaves are forced to work, servants choose to work. I choose to equip, encourage, and prepare others rather than do their work myself. Once, when a pastor theoretically asked how much I would charge to help collaborate on a website creation, I could give no number, and the number he gave seemed high to me. He joked how I do not yet have bills to pay, explaining how I thought that was a high payment, but then he said in a serious tone “No, what I see is a lot of heart.” What he spoke was true. I willingly give, not expecting as much or any payment.

Now, just because I help others does not mean I can be pushed around, nor does it mean I do not use my knowledge myself. I have obligations and responsibilities like everyone else. If I do not have the time or resources to do something, I will say I cannot help them. As for using my knowledge, yes I use it. The only way to teach others is to learn for yourself, and learning from experience goes a long way. Most every tutorial I write, if not all tutorials, I have tested and used myself. That is how I know how to write about it. Yes, I will use my own creations. You would be surprised how many times I use the “Head and Body with <title> and <meta>” option in HTML Skeleton. However, when it comes down to the gist of it, I do not use most of what I write. Development usage is much difference from end-user usage. But that is OK, because I know that what I write has been, is, or hopefully will benefit someone.

And this all happens because I work to make others look good. In Mark 10:35-45, a section titled by the New King James version as “Greatness Is Serving“, an incident is recorded where James and John came to Jesus asking if they may sit on his right and left hands in Heaven. At this request, the other disciples became angry with James and John, for the places they asked for were of high authority, power, and prestige (and still is to this day). Jesus replied saying it is not for Him to decide, but only for the Father. The key part of this passage is in verses 41-45.

And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:41-45, NKJV)

I am not trying to boast or puff myself up here; this is an honest post explaining why I do what I do. That passage, to me, sums everything up. “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.” Do I ever want to be over all? Not really, no. I would rather stay behind and makes others look good, just as Joshua did to Moses. If God calls me to be to a leader, then I will cross that bridge when I get there. For now, I am just a shadow, swiftly moving about doing all that is necessary to promote others. That is where I am now, and unless God’s plan for my life says otherwise, that is where I will remain.

I leave you with this except from a school project I am writing. I think it pulls this whole post into perspective. While it focuses solely on the programming aspect, it applies to everything I do.

For me, programming is not about trying to write something that will be picked up by some big corporation and bought for lots of money. Instead, it is about performing a job others may never understand; A job that, when done well, makes nobody wonder about all that went into it.

That is why I do what I do.