By Mark E. Smith
A presidential candidate was asked if it was difficult to balance service to others with self-gratuity – that is, serving others simply to serve others versus serving others to benefit oneself in return?
The candidate’s answer was honest, but unimpressive: “I’ve always struggled with that balance.”
Ultimately, by nature, we can’t fault any politician for being self-serving. After all, politicians need the support of others to achieve their goals – they must, even with the best of intentions, give in order to get, as well as vice-versa.
In our personal lives, we’re far more fortunate. We can serve others simply to serve – among the truest liberties in life. See, when we give of ourselves, there’s no catch, no other concern, just the opportunity to serve another, and that’s the ultimate freedom – no strings attached.
Now, some might argue that the personal satisfaction of serving is self-gratuitous. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. I assert that in the truest sense, serving is an action made, then released. It doesn’t change how we feel about ourselves or effect our lives – we just carry on.
Interestingly, religions differ on this topic. Under Buddhism, the Law of Cause and Effect says, “The kind of seed sewn will produce that kind of fruit,” so simply doing right by others is doing right by ourselves – that is, we can’t escape karma. Serving others is to serve ourselves in the end.
Christianity, however, has another take on how we should handle serving others. In a translation of Matthew 6:3, it’s said, “But when you do merciful deeds, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does,” meaning that good deeds should be kept secret, not done for praise.
In the end, serving others has a very simple universal truth: Whether you’re a politician, altruist, Buddhist, Christian or one of a million persuasions in-between, serve others because it’s the most sincere act we can extend to other human beings.