March 17

  

Today's Quotation:

A child's kiss
Set on thy sighing lips shall make thee glad;
A poor man served by thee shall make thee rich;
A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong;
Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
Of service which thou renderest.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Today's Meditation:

Somehow we tend to grow up thinking that service is something that's done for us, and if we provide any service, we should be paid for it.  I guess we're taught this by people who have learned the monetary "value" of time, and who realize the potential gain involved in acts of service.  Many of us also learn to feel a bit of resentment towards those people who don't serve at all, while we serve a great deal, for that really isn't fair, is it?  So we serve less, hoping that others will do their fair share.

But Browning points our something that could be very important to us--every act of service that we render is in its depths an act of service to ourselves.  By serving another person or other people, we ultimately are making ourselves better, stronger, more compassionate human beings, more able to love, more able to feel, more able to accept love.

We don't all need to dedicate our lives to broad service with little to no financial return as did Mother Teresa.  We all don't need to work full time in homeless shelters or homes for battered children.  Much of our service takes place on the extremely small levels, in the daily interactions that we have with other people, in the small things that we teach and those times when we comfort others in times of stress and need.  We serve with a smile or a few words of encouragement, and we serve with what we can afford to give to others who are serving on a grander scale--but we are not obligated to give more than we can afford.

How do we make ourselves glad and rich and strong?  It's quite simple, actually, and we have opportunities for doing so every single day that we live.  We do so by serving, and our service does double duty by providing the service to others, and providing a separate service to ourselves.

Questions to ponder:

1.  How many opportunities do you have to serve each day?

2.  How many of those opportunities do you take advantage of?

3.  What are the short- and long-term benefits of service to you as a human being?

For further thought:

Unless we give part of ourselves away, unless we can live with other people and understand them and help them, we are missing the most essential part of our own lives.

Harold Taylor

more thoughts and ideas on serving others

   

   

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