1. A Lifestyle of Service
Points to Ponder:
Our previous curriculum ended with discussing how we experience our value through living for the sake of others and the expression of love through the four realms of heart.
This curriculum will focus on the theme of the Joy of Service; this is best experienced in the full spectrum of life’s activities, becoming integrated into our way of life. Thus we can speak of a culture of service. The most valuable lessons in life and the most important growth in character and heart take place when we place the needs of others before our own.
People of mature character put the needs of others above their self-interest and open their hearts to the giving and receiving of love. Such training in humility, respect, generosity and service provides a foundation for a mature character because our heart, intellect, will and actions intersect most fully through serving others. The challenges of cultivating our heart and character are life-long. The more we grow in heart and character the better able we are to form harmonious relationships and contribute to a culture of peace.
This growth process begins in the family. Caring experiences at home promote a well-balanced character and enable us to relate well with many kinds of people. An old man on the street can be respected as our grandfather. A woman our age can be treated as our sister. Little children playing in the schoolyard can be regarded as our children, or our younger brothers and sisters. Service offers a way to expand our heart by connecting with people we would not otherwise meet. There is a natural human longing for caring relationships and caring communities.
A study on how people learn to care includes the following observation: “People are hungry for connecting with others and helping is a wonderful avenue for it. … Offering a vision of how to help can liberate their energies, open their hearts, and enable them to also serve their own needs by joining with and helping others.”1
The heart and motivation with which we serve is what gives value to our actions. We see a model in our True Parents lifestyle – an example of wholehearted investment. Likewise, God created this universe and everything in it as an expression of selfless, unconditional, parental love. “God either projected the full value of Himself in His object, or He created nothing at all.”1 Thus, we come to resemble our Heavenly Parent by giving selflessly, which brings our original mind joy.
True Parents taught that when you give and love unconditionally, the love is returned to you. It’s a Universal Principle. The more you give, the more you receive eventually. However, the receiving part is not the main point of serving. People are moved and attracted by an unconditional giving and loving attitude which resembles God’s heart and love.
Those who serve also have the potential to change history and foster a culture of peace. Margaret Mead expressed, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Discussion questions for before/after the reading:
- What uplifting experiences have you had with service?
- We discussed how service is meant to best experienced when incorporated in the full spectrum of life experience. How would you do that ? Have you ever tried that? What happened?
“The essence of love is to cast aside any thought of having others live for one’s self; it is to live for the sake of others and give for the whole. Love gives, but then forgets even the fact that it has given and continues to give without ceasing. This is a love that gives in joy.” – page 212 in Peace Loving Global Citizen
“True love is to be gained through life experience and understood through internal realization. True love is not something that can be learned through words, a written text or schooling. It is experienced completely only in life.” – TF
“Up to this point we have been talking about living for the sake of others, but not anymore. From now on, we need to talk about living for the sake of others and the self at the same time. Who are others? “Others” includes “me.” We say we have to live for the sake of the Cain world, but that is not exactly so. We must bring them to us because those others and I are actually one body. This is no longer the time for teaching the principle of living for the sake of others; rather, we should teach living for the sake of “others and me.” We have to bring our partners to the point that they become one with us, and in so doing, we make something greater — “us.” Then we can go to the kingdom of heaven together” – CSG, Book 4
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow T. Wilson, Twenty-eighth President of the US
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, 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.” – Mother Teresa
“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” – Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” – Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize winner
“Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.” – Albert Einstein, German-Swiss-U.S. scientist.
“Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.”
– Albert Schweitzer, German theologian, philosopher, physician, and Nobel Prize winner
“I know of no great man except those who have rendered great services to the human race.” -Voltaire, French writer and historian.
This week, we invite you to a service challenge! For at least three days, begin each morning with an act of service. (Brainstorm ideas with your trinity!) ie. Make a cup of tea for someone, do the leftover dishes, listen with empathy to someone that’s challenging to love, give your parent a back rub, etc. Good luck!