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Service

  • ... we live in a society which salves its conscience more by helping the interestingly unfortunate than the dull deserving ...

  • Human kindness is like a defective tap: the first gush may be impressive, but the stream soon dries up.

  • There is nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them.

  • ... the role of the Do-Gooder is not what actors call a fat part.

  • I am proud that I spent the whole of my life in the service of my people ... I shall continue to serve until my last breath and when I die, I can say, that every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • speech, the day before she was assassinated ()
  • Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.

  • The laws of our being are such that we must perform some degree of use in the world, whether we intend it, or not; but we can deprive ourselves of its indwelling joy, by acting entirely from the love of self.

  • 'Can I help you?' she enquired, in a manner that said she hoped she wouldn't have to.

  • ... public work brings a vicarious but assured sense of immortality. We may be poor, weak, timid, in debt to our landlady, bullied by our nieces, stiff in the joints, shortsighted and distressed; we shall perish, but the cause endures; the cause is great.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • "The Right Side of Thirty" (1930), Pavements at Anderby ()
  • Usefulness, whatever form it may take, is the price we should pay for the air we breathe and the food we eat and the privilege of being alive.

  • When you cease to make a contribution you begin to die.

  • The soul is awakened through service.

  • Service to a just cause rewards the worker with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life.

    • Carrie Chapman Catt,
    • in The American Scrap Book: The Year's Golden Harvest of Thought and Achievement ()
  • Good works may only be beautiful sins, if they are not done in a true spirit ...

  • ... love grows by service.

  • To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.

  • If I can stop one Heart from breaking / I shall not live in vain / If I can ease one Life the Aching / Or cool one Pain / Or help one fainting Robin / Unto his Nest again / I shall not live in Vain.

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • c. 1864, in Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson ()

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  • The essence of volunteerism is not giving part of a surplus one doesn't need, but giving part of one's self. Such giving is more than a duty of the heart, but a way people help themselves by satisfying the deeper spiritual needs that represent the best that is in us.

    • ,
    • in Christopher News Notes ()
  • I never say to people, 'I am going to help you.' What I tell them is, 'I will work with you.'

    • Maria Rifo,
    • in Sherry Ruth Anderson and Patricia Hopkins, The Feminine Face of God ()
  • I believe that no one is sent into this world without a work to do; there is nothing without its mission in the whole catalogue of created things, and it is not likely that we, 'made in the image of God' and 'only a little lower than the angels,' will be exempt from our share of usefulness. What the special life-work of each one of us may be I cannot tell; it depends entirely on our surroundings and opportunities. Each one must decide for herself what her duties are, and in what manner she can work to the best advantage.

  • Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.

  • Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.

  • ... I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.

  • ... there is no life that does not contribute to history. One added to one is the eternal abundance ...

  • You only have what you give. It's by spending yourself that you become rich.

  • Again and again I tell God I need help, and God says, 'Well, isn't that fabulous? Because I need help too. So you go get that old woman over there some water, and I'll figure out what we're going to do about your stuff.'

  • ... volunteer activities can foster enormous leadership skills. The nonprofessional volunteer world is a laboratory for self-realization.

  • I felt a complete willingness, without any reservations, to give my life, to dedicate my life to service. I tell you, it's a point of no return. After that, you can never go back to completely self-centered living.

  • You're not successful till you've helped someone else. If you want to sit up there, aloof and isolated like the Wizard of Oz, scaring everyone with fake power, you'll never move on. Lending a hand makes you feel stronger in your soul and it makes you look stronger to others.

  • ... life lived only for oneself does not truly satisfy men or women. There is a hunger in Americans today for larger purposes beyond the self. That is the reason for the religious revival and the new resonance of 'family.'

  • When a house is on fire and you know that there are people in it, it is a sin to straighten pictures in that house. When the world about you is in great danger, works that are in themselves not sinful can be quite wrong.

  • But only those who have aims and ambitions for the benefit, not of the individual, but of humankind as a whole can persevere to the end.

    • Ding Ling,
    • "Thoughts on March 8" (1942), in I Myself Am a Woman: Selected Writings of Ding Ling ()
  • ... I have a rage for being useful, for devoting myself to somebody or something.

    • Eugénie de Guérin,
    • letter (1840), in Guillaume S. Trébutien, ed., Letters of Eugénie de Guérin ()
  • Every act of kindness and compassion toward others gets multiplied when they, in turn, pass it on. One by one the world becomes a better place. Service is indeed the gift that keeps on giving.

  • It's so nice to be a spoke in the wheel, one that helps to turn, not one that hinders.

    • Gertrude Bell,
    • 1916, in Florence Bell, ed., The Letters of Gertrude Bell, vol. 1 ()
  • I really believe that volunteerism is the cure for every negative emotion — boredom, loneliness, unhappiness. Busyness takes away the pain. And think of all the positive things you can create by helping just one person lead a better life. A simple act of kindness can change the world.

    • Matilda Cuomo,
    • in Beth Benatovich, ed., What We Know So Far ()
  • She is one of those impressive women who usually head committees on supervising movies, taking the entire sixth grade on a tour of one of our local factories, or outlawing slingshots, and I daresay she would be the first person everyone would think of if there should arise an occasion for the mothers to lift the school building and carry it bodily to another location.

  • If I could wish for immortality on earth, it would only be for the power of relieving the distressed.

    • Maria Theresa,
    • in Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns ()
  • You know, maybe that's all anybody wants, is to be useful. And have somebody else notice it.

  • The crocodile doesn't harm the bird that cleans his teeth for him. He eats the others but not that one.

  • I shall not pass this way again; / Then let me now relieve some pain, / Remove some barrier from the road, / Or brighten some one's heavy load ...

    • Eva Rose York,
    • "I Shall Not Pass This Way Again," in One Hundred and One Famous Poems ()
  • I know the most Insignificant creature on Earth may be made some Use of in the Scale of Beings, may Touch some Spring, or Verge to some wheel unpercived by us.

    • Jane Franklin,
    • to her brother Benjamin Franklin (1786), in Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin ()
  • Service is a balm to both the spirit and the body.

  • ... what are we all sent into the world for, but to be of use to each other?

  • ... service is the rent we pay for living.

  • They serve God well / Who serve His creatures.

  • Find a need and fill it.

  • Serving helps me to live a more meaningful life and to become more the person that I was meant to be.

  • As far as I am concerned, the secret to a happy life, especially in your later years, is to help other people until you don't notice your own needs and pains anymore. When the only person you worry about is yourself, all your problems tend to get magnified and out of hand, and you become thoroughly unpleasant to be around.

    • Doris Haddock,
    • with Dennis Burke, Granny D: Walking Across America in My 90th Year ()
  • If you ever need a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm. As you get older, you must remember you have a second hand. The first one is to help yourself, the second one is to help others.

    • Audrey Hepburn,
    • in Diana Maychick, Audrey Hepburn: An Intimate Portrait ()
  • [On her UNICEF work:] I'm glad I've got a name, because I'm using it for what it's worth. ... I do not want to see mothers and fathers digging graves for their children.

  • When I'm dead, I want people to say: 'That woman made a difference.' I don't want that to seem like a conceited remark because it's not meant that way. But I think we all have an obligation to make life a little better — and a little pleasanter — for others.

    • Lillian Vernon,
    • in Jean Sherman Chatzky, The Rich and Famous Money Book ()
  • I believe that the only possible reason for our being here is to serve in some form or another but that the form is not always readily found or recognized. And I've noticed that those who refuse to serve often wind up as slaves.

  • If every American donated five hours a week, it would equal the labor of 20 million full-time volunteers.

    • Whoopi Goldberg,
    • in Linda Paresky, ed., From Success to Significance ()
  • An essential part of a happy, healthy life is being of service to others.

  • When do any of us ever do enough?

  • The steadily inward look leads us all to death, nations as well as persons, and is equally infantile in them all. Perhaps the most useful thing I have learned in my lifetime is that the process of maturing gradually turns the mind away from the small-self to the greater-self that is only served by serving others.

  • ... I don't think you're much good, unless you're doing good to someone.

    • Rose Kennedy,
    • 1911, in Laurence Leamer, The Kennedy Women ()
  • A thousand pardons for troubling you so often; but this is the way with ladies given to good works. I know of no people more troublesome, more tiresome, more headstrong, and more useless.

  • 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.

  • Do good, and disappear.

  • ... service is the joy-giving factor in daily life. It is as spontaneous as light, as subtle as electricity, as exhilarating as sunshine. It exists primarily as a spiritual attitude. It lies in the constant recognition of the brotherhood of humanity toward each and all with whom we come in contact.

  • ... we come to realize that other people's welfare is just as important as our own. In helping them, we help ourselves. In helping ourselves, we help the world.