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 a 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 were 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,” he 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.
A lot of famous people have said something about service. India’s Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.”
In Compassion and Meditation: The Spiritual Dynamic between Buddhism and Christianity, author Jean-Yves Leloup wrote: “If you are a Buddhist, inspire yourself by thinking of the bodhisattva. If you are a Christian, think of Christ, who came not to be served by others but to serve them in joy, in peace, and in generosity. For these things, these are not mere words, but acts, which go all the way, right up to their last breath. Even their death is a gift, and resurrection is born from this kind of death.”
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 the 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 helps 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.
There was this doctor who had never refused a call either for rich or for poor. But now, he is tired and retired. Then, one midnight, he received a call.
“Have you any money,” the doctor inquired. “Certainly,” the man from the 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 is the measure of greatness; it always has been true; it is true today, and it always will be true, that he is the greatest who does the most of good,” said American orator and politician William Jennings Bryan.
Criss Jami, the 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.”
That’s why when you serve others, do it with an open heart and gladness. A businesswoman stopped at a coffee shop and ordered a cup of coffee. The waitress grudgingly delivered it and asked, “Anything else?”
“Yes,” said the businesswoman. “I’d like some sugar, cream, a spoon, a napkin, and a saucer for the cup.”
“Well, aren’t you the demanding one,” snapped the waitress.
“Look at it from my point of view,” said the businesswoman. “You served a cup of coffee and made five mistakes.”
American minister Marion G. Romney reiterated: “We lose our life by serving and lifting others. By doing so, 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.”