To be of service is to work to help others, to serve. Service recognizes human interconnectedness and our ability to contribute to the lives of others in positive and active ways. Service is an active form of caring, compassion, or love. We call people who work for government “public servants” because their job is to support people, rather than to make a profit or to build a powerbase.

(The word service can also imply work as a servant for pay, a government branch, or a religious observance. Those are not what these quotations describe.)

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It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you believe that you can damage, then believe that you can fix.

— Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Good leaders must first become good servants.

— Robert Greenleaf

Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.

— Roy T. Bennett

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.

— Sam Levenson

The idea that we can enjoy the benefits of society while owing nothing in return is literally infantile. Only children owe nothing.

— Sebastian Junger

Sensitive people care when the world doesn’t because we understand waiting to be rescued and no one shows up. We have rescued ourselves, so many times that we have become self taught in the art of compassion for those forgotten.

— Shannon L. Alder

The late Dr. Hans Selye, in his monumental research on stress, basically says that a long, healthy, and happy life is the result of making contributions, of having meaningful projects that are personally exciting and contribute to and bless the lives of others. His ethic was ‘earn thy neighbor’s love.’

— Stephen R. Covey

If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

— Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow creatures happy.

— Thomas Paine

My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

— Thomas Paine

If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.

— Warren Buffett

Never forget that the purpose for which a man lives is the improvement of the man himself, so that he may go out of this world having, in his great sphere or his small one, done some little good for his fellow creatures and labored a little to diminish the sin and sorrow that are in the world.

— William E. Gladstone

We don’t have to be “successful,” only valuable. We don’t have to make money, only a difference, and particularly in the lives society counts least and puts last.

— William Sloane Coffin

No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you.

— Wilma Rudolph

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

— Winston Churchill
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