Who do you serve; yourself or others?

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I came across this quote by George H. W. Bush;

“There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people.”

If I were to ask you, who do you serve, what would your immediate thought be?  You may think of the obvious; your spouse/partner, children, your employer or if you run a business, your clients. As a Christian I serve all of the examples given above plus God. 

To serve means a life of sacrifice; 

As a parent you put your child’s needs before your own. You ensure they are fed and warm before you are as it is your responsibility to nurture and care for them. 

As a wife or husband you put the needs of your spouse first; you give them their favourite piece of meat even if you also like it, you do what you can to make their life more comfortable and secure.

As an employee, you arrive to work early to start on time and put in the hours for which you are paid. You bring your ideas to the table and work with colleagues to meet the goals of the organisation. 

As a business owner you place your clients needs as high priority. If they are unhappy with your product/service you apologise profusely, fix the issue or reimburse them even if it is at a cost to you.

As a Christian, you serve God by serving others in and outside of the church; practically, emotionally and financially. Quite simply – you see a need and meet it. If you cannot, you help in any which way you can.

Society encourages the ‘me, me, me’ attitude and it is unfortunate that many have bought into it. More and more people live for themselves first and others later. Some may pretend to put others before themselves but if you delve deep under the surface, there is something in it for them. 

When you notice selfishness creeping in (it happens to the best of us), you should immediately reign it in. You should also keep your heart in check to endure you are serving out of love, not obligation or with resentment. 

Yes, at times you will feel hard done by when serving. If you find yourself in this place, remember why you are doing it.

Who do you serve?
Do you serve with a good heart? 

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38 thoughts on “Who do you serve; yourself or others?”

  1. At one point I was helping so many people instead of focusing on myself. A couple years ago I stopped that. As I continue to get my life in order I know that soon I will be able to do more for other people than I ever imagined.

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  2. What a wonderful post to read this morning, Phoenicia. I have not been an active volunteer for the last two years and get frustrated with myself because of that. I also learned very rapidly that what I choose to volunteer to do has to be something I’m passionate about or I won’t do it with a true heart. One of my friends always tells her son, If you won’t do this with God in your heart, then don’t do it.

    Good advice and a good kick in the pants for me. I have a specific volunteer project that I want to pursue but have been slow to get it launched. Get going, Rose!

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    1. Hi Rose,

      Thank you so much for your encouragement. It truly means a lot. I write my blog with the intention of uplifting and inspiring others – looks like it is working!

      All the best with your volunteering!

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  3. It is funny, ethics, religion and other flashlights on the human soul tell us to serve others.
    But look at who exceeds in the world, the wealthy, the power hungry, who motives are centered on themselves. Their reasoning or approval is that they were strong enough to get what they wanted.
    Until mankind evolves enough to judge people by their worth to others, self-centered people will always be revered above others.

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  4. I go in phases where I volunteer and know I always feel better when I do. I came across a post somewhere that stated about one hundred hours a year is optimal for happiness, but how knows for sure. At times too, I side with a Special Ed teacher friend of mine. She boasts she doesn’t “volunteer” per se because she often stays at school until 8 pm so she can help students who need homework assistance, etc.

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  5. What an awesome post. From a society that’s becoming all about me, serving others is hard, much less from the heart. This is a beautiful reminder as to why it’s needed and necessary. As I was reading your thoughts, I found myself asking myself these questions. I think they will resonate with me for some time.

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  6. Phoenicia — Lovely post and so true. We reap our greatest rewards by serving others. I have three close friends and I’m happiest when I’m doing something for them and I know the feeling is mutual. That’s the essence of friendship and love.

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  7. Serving is hard enough, but serving with a good heart? That’s where the rubber really meets the road! This is a beautiful reminder, and I know I’ll be coming back to this thought often as I ask myself these questions this week…

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  8. Phoenicia, I think we can only serve others if we are in the position – mentally, physically and financially – to do so. An example – one of our sons is dyslexic and because of this he has very low self-esteem. He also bounces from one bad relationship to another and I told him he could never love someone else properly until he first learned to love himself. So far he hasn’t listened, I hope someday he will. It does however, illustrate my point.

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  9. I think if we take care of ourselves we automatically will serve others better. A good caring attitude is what is needed for all. I have always gone the extra mile for others as I feel it comes back to me as the world is round.

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  10. I grew up in a strong culture of being your brother’s (or sister’s) keeper. We are all connected and I feel we have a responsibility to look after each other. That includes taking care of ourselves, so I don’t think this is always an either/or question. We all have unique gifts and it is best when we contribute in ways true to ourselves, although we may sometimes be called to respond to needs outside our comfort zone. I think we do ourselves and others harm if we tend to either extreme – where everything is about me,me,me or where we continually stifle our own needs and gifts to do what we think or are told we “should” to serve others.

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  11. I totally agree. Being of service was always a part of my life. My parents were always volunteering in different spiritual and church events. When my kids were little, my husband and I started volunteering at their school and after school activities. But, it didn’t stop there, being self-employed, I ask “how can I serve” each day because I believe that we are here to serve one another in different ways to make this world a better place. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  12. In my opinion you should server yourself as well as others. There is no need to make a choice. If you can’t do something that benefits you without it having a detrimental impact on others it may not be a good idea to go ahead with it.

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  13. Wonderful post, Phoenicia. I am so tired of this me-me-me society. Just the rise of the selfie says it all. I’m not sure how we spiraled into this, but I sure wish we could turn things around. The are studies that show that happiness soars after the act of giving.

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  14. This is a lovely post, Phoenecia. I learned from my parents how to volunteer and serve others, and it has become an important part of my life. To me, selfishness leads to loneliness. Serving leads to friendships and love.

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  15. I think it is extremely important to make sure you take care of your own needs. It is kind of like when you are in an airplane. You have to put the mask over yourself first before you can take care of others. However, it is extremely important to be aware that you are part of a bigger picture. When people feel that their own needs are more important than anyone else’s, that breeds narcism. And I narcissistic person will not only become disillusioned by the world, they will drive others away. The key to me is to find balance.

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  16. Inspiring Phoenicia. I am not religious but as you’ve illustrated the message applies to all areas of our life and I think this is a great question to ask ourselves from time to time.

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