By Henrylito D. Tacio
“Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life,” wrote American author Rachel Naomi Remen. “When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.”
AND in some instances, the service you render to others may bring you to higher position in life. Such was the story related by Fulton Oursler:
One stormy night, an elderly man and his wife entered the lobby of a small hotel in Philadelphia. The couple had no baggage.
“We know that all the places are filled up,” said the man. “But can you possibly give us a room here?”
The clerk replied that there were three conventions in town, and there are no more accommodations anywhere.
“Every guest room is taken,” he explained.
“But still I simply can’t send a nice couple like you out into the rain at one o’clock in the morning. Would you perhaps be willing to sleep in my room? Oh, I’ll make out just fine; don’t worry about me.”
The next morning, as he paid his bill, the elderly man said to the clerk: “You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you!”
The clerk laughed. And he laughed again when, after two years had passed, he received a letter containing a round-trip ticket to New York and a request that he called upon his guest of that rainy night.
In the metropolis, the old man led the young clerk to the corner of Fifth Avenue and Thirty-Fourth Street and pointed to a vast new building there, a palace of reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers, like a castle from fairyland cleaving the New York sky. “That,” the declared, “is the hotel I have just built for you to manage.”
As if hit by lightning, the young man, George C. Boldt, stood fixed to the ground. His benefactor was William Waldorf Astor and the hotel, the most famous of its day, the original Waldorf-Astoria.
“The high destiny of the individual,” said the famous Albert Einstein “is to serve rather than to rule.” To which Roy L. Smith agreed, “Success is not measured by the money earned but by the service rendered.” John Burroughs added, “For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice – no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service.”
In Matthew 25:35-36 and 40, Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me . . . I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. once pointed out: “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Richelle E. Goodrich, author of Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year, says service is more than just a smile. “(Service) is an acknowledging wave, a reaching handshake, a friendly wink, and a warm hug. It’s these simple acts that matter most, because the greatest service to a human soul has always been the kindness of recognition.”
Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa said it best: “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, and how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.’”
Hannah More, an English religious writer and philanthropist, says that even a smallest act you do is a great service to the person who receives it. “One kernel is felt in a hogshead; one drop of water helps to swell the ocean; a spark of fire help to give light to the world. None are too small, too feeble, too poor to be of service. Think of this and act,” she points out.
“Service is the measure of greatness; it always has been true; it is true today, and it always will be true, that he is greatest who does the most of good,” said American orator and politician William Jennings Bryan.
Criss Jami, author of Killosophy, once wrote: “A man who goes into a restaurant and blatantly disrespects the servers shows a strong discontent with his own being. Deep down he knows that restaurant service is the closest thing he will ever experience to being served like a king.”
American minister Marion G. Romney reiterated: “We lose our life by serving and lifting others. By so doing we experience the only true and lasting happiness. Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.”
There was this doctor who had never refused a call either for rich or for poor. But now, he was tired and retired. Then, one midnight, he received a call.
“Have you any money,” the doctor inquired. “Certainly,” the man from other end replied.
“Then to go the new doctor,” the retired physician said very politely. “I’m too old to get out of bed for anyone who can pay for it.”
“Service,” Marian Wright Edelman declared, “is what life is all about.”
Vital Signs Issue 84 Vol. 4, February 1-29 2016