We can get anything today for money. This bartering of money for objects and results has undervalued the value of both money and the thing it buys. The irony is calling that effort or result bought with money as a “service”.
What then, is the real meaning of service? Expending one’s efforts with no expectations of any kind in return is service. It is done for the sake of the effort, for love, for the betterment of the person receiving it. To serve is to learn, to grow, to realize, and to enjoy. The act of serving helps the person performing the service more than the person receiving it. It clears the mind and purifies the heart. Such is the power of service, where even those who at first are not inclined to perform the act willingly, are soon touched by the joy of service. After all, they cannot escape the virtue of happiness and contentment when it spreads from their own hand.
“I” do not serve. “You” do not serve. “He, She, It” does not and “They” do not serve as well.
Then who serves?
We serve together. Else we never serve at all. The times compel us to serve together. And when two people immersed in the act, serve together, out of love and compassion, more importantly with the clear understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses so that their skills and abilities complement, the bond they nurture will be strong and enriching to both.
Since serving is also an act, the performer of the act will inevitably commit mistakes, blunders even. Alone these may not be rectified or not even noticed. Sometimes, they may get out of control. But serving together, they may be noticed and solutions identified sooner, while helping to curb the damages easily. This is when one supports another and together build solidarity within the group. Even those who are predisposed to act independently will reap benefits from periodically falling back on a supportive, understanding group with similar intentions.
Sometimes there are tasks that nobody wants to do. The reasons for such a situation may be many – the arduousness of the task, the unattractiveness or even disgust it might present, lack of proper rewards for performing tasks. The only way we can overcome such obstacles is to serve compulsorily, to become addicted to the act of serving.
In this age of arrogance empowered by money, the only means to humble our hubris is to serve. Only when people serve, will they discover that there is greater joy in giving freely; that this contentment derived from the act of serving, will be never equaled by any other kind of joy or experience that is bought with money. Curiously, only when people are involved in an act of service that does not include bartering of any kind, except that of love and happiness, do they better understand the value of money.
That one should not even direct their scoff or contempt towards those who might be juvenile and vain in all their snobbery to hold service as a demeaning act, is easy to preach, but hard to practice. However, serving consistently and continuously will dislodge even that from one’s attitude.
Therefore, serve we must, so that our eyes are opened – both to the experiences of the external world, as well as to the deep well of inner peace and happiness within us that never dries.